For coach Orr, Obama inauguration hits soft spot

Any other Tuesday, BG men’s basketball coach Louis Orr would be completely focused on the task at hand, a 7 p.m. home game against Miami.

But today is different.

He’s put in his time scouting Miami, but normally would do last minute scouting to try to get that much more of an edge before tipoff.

But today is different.

With Barack Obama taking the office of presidency, Orr, along with millions of Americans, will take time out of their busy schedules to witness history, either firsthand in Washington, D.C. or through their TV or radio.

In a fast-paced society, today certainly is different.

For Orr, and many of those same millions of Americans, this day is something he never imagined he would see in this country.

“Before this happened, I might have been one of those who said, ‘Maybe not in my lifetime,'” Orr said. “Now that it has happened ” that’s the beauty of this country.”

For some people, the beauty of this country sometimes lies in the hills of Pennsylvania in autumn, the Northern Lights in Alaska or the wide open spaces of the Midwest on a sunny afternoon.

But the beauty Orr spoke of is diversity, the driving force of the melting pot America is advertised to be.

Beauty also lies in the family, and Orr wishes his parents could still be alive to witness this glorious occasion.

Orr said his mother, Mildred, would have loved to see this day, making it sound as if she would be happier about it than he is.

Mildred had a shelf of books on Martin Luther King, Jr., black history and other black cultural topics while Orr was growing up in Cincinnati, a shelf Orr never really understood until he was older. She was a woman who was the leader of the community center and very cultured.

She passed away in 2003, but Orr knows she would be buzzing with happiness on this day.

“She’d be grinning from ear to ear,” he said. “She’d just be pleased.”

Orr didn’t seem to get choked up while discussing his mother with reporters, but he said he’s had his emotional moments watching Obama go through this year’s election process.

“I’m not hard to cry,” Orr said.

Orr’s words aren’t spoken by all men. But for a diligently faithful man like himself, shedding a tear or two for something as historically pertinent as today is would be just like BG students bundling up for a long, winter’s walk to class. Just another moment gone by.

With the inauguration slated for noon today, Orr thinks he’s scouted Miami enough that he can spend that moment watching Obama get sworn in. Regardless, he will have someone at home record it.

It’s family and faith that drives Orr in everyday life, and to see a family that looks like his own going into the White House is one of the aspects that puts one of the culminations of black history into perspective for the coach.

“You hear people talk about how slaves helped build the White House,” Orr said. “Now you have a person of slave ancestry, a family, that’s going to be living there.”

It’s truly all come full circle down in Washington.

Orr continued on saying he knows it wasn’t just by random chance the American presidency came full-circle for African-Americans in 2009.

“God is good,” Orr said. “He knows all and he puts people in positions of authority.”

Obama is certainly in a position of authority, and the fact that has happened still leaves Orr speechless every now and then.

“Sometimes I’m at a loss for words when I think about what it represents,” Orr said.

Orr’s not alone as I’m sure those sentiments are shared by millions across this country and many millions more around the world.

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Contact sports editor Andrew Harner at [email protected]