The Last Word: The show must go on

In Chile, it will undoubtedly be a difficult weekend for all involved.

One could not help but be disturbed by images of the aftermath of the devastating earthquake which destroyed parts of Chile on Saturday.
Hundreds of people have been killed while thousands more lost their homes and livelihoods as buildings collapsed and roads were torn apart in the major cities of Consepcion and Santiago.
Even though this was just the latest in a long list of natural disasters which have hit locations around the globe, from the quake in Haiti to floods in Honduras, each situation has its complexities and all are heartbreaking.
However, life must go on, and what better way to start than with a major sporting event being held in a popular vacation resort 500 kilometers north of the capital.
Some very minor tremors were felt in Coquimbo, but in general life has gone on unchanged in the Chilean port town due to host this weekend’s Davis Cup tie between Chile and Israel.
Naturally, a large number of the town’s residents have friends and family affected by the earthquake and their thoughts will be with them.
But, a week after the massive disaster, it is time for the focus to move away from death and destruction and on to more positive events.
Luckily for the Chileans, their team is the favorite to win the World Group tie and move into the quarterfinals.
It will undoubtedly be a difficult weekend for all involved.
The Israeli team had their plane rerouted to Miami last Saturday when Santiago airport was closed, forcing the players to undertake a five-day journey which took them through Rio and Buenos Aires.
They are tired from the trip, have had far less time than usual to get used to the difficulties of playing on a clay surface and are dealing with the emotions of playing in a country in the midst of recovering from such a disaster.
Chile’s singles player Nicolas Massu, meanwhile, spoke of how his head is “not in tennis,” and that he would have preferred the tie to have been postponed.
This would not be a good idea. Even if the date of the tie was to bedelayed by days, or even weeks, the impact of the earthquake wouldstill be in the back of the minds of everyone involved.
The Davis Cup scheduling is extremely tight and it would have beendifficult to find another weekend when both teams could bring theirplayers together. And the financial cost of constructing the speciallybuilt stadium and reimbursing fans would not have been easy to absorb.
Our hearts go out to the Chilean people who have been through so muchover the past week. Just maybe, this weekend’s tennis will bring somenew joy and hope to their lives.