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“Yeah, no doubt. I really feel that way,” Johnson said. “I think sports gets you to quit thinking about your problems and the problems in the world. See some highly talented young athletes compete. It keeps us sane.”

Sage that he is, Johnson is correct. That’s pretty much the role of sports when things are hunky-dory and it is perhaps more important when things are not.

It is the message Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon delivered in 2007, when the Hokies started their first season after the shootings on campus, and Ortiz so marvelously delivered his variation in Boston in April.

Sports can’t fix anything. They won’t bring back those we’ve lost. They won’t keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people. It would be marvelous if they could prevent another tragedy. They can’t.

But sports can help us feel better. The results may be trivial in the grand scheme, but the games are not. And there’s nothing wrong with that.