Sports have taken a back seat for many over the past few days, a seemingly ironic twist when there are so many of us that use the games as a means to break away from the stresses and frustrations of life for just a few hours at a time. Sometimes things take place in our world that are just too incomprehensible to escape from, it would seem, and to use sports as that escape over the past 48+ hours just didn’t seem … right.
As I write this today, folks across the country are gearing up for an eventful Sunday late in the NFL season. There are big games across the slate with significant playoff implications. The focus of the NFL, however, is on honoring those lost on Friday. Flags will fly at half mast at stadiums across the country. A moment of silence will be observed before the start of each game. Teams such as the New York Giants and New York Jets will adorn the initials “S.H.E.S.” on their helmets in respect. The New England Patriots have placed stickers on the backs of their helmets for tonight’s game and will shoot off flairs for each of the victims.
By now we’re all aware of the events that transpired early Friday morning in Newtown, Connecticut. A crazed gunman entered the school shortly before 9:30 that morning, moved through the building in search of his mother’s classroom, and mercilessly murdered those in his path before taking his own life in a cowardly fashion. Twenty six people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School – a group that includes a devoted principal, passionate teachers, and worst of all, twenty innocent children. Twenty six people and we’re left without any comprehension as to the reasons why.
In light of Friday’s events many of us have stepped back from some things over the past two days. The thought of writing about a minor league signing or commenting on a trade rumor just seemed unimportant. Baseball has long been a huge piece of my life. It’s my passion, my obsession, and my first true love. But over the past two days it has all seemed secondary. My thoughts have been with those affected by Friday’s events in Connecticut. My thoughts have been with those families affected, trying to comprehend just what they are each going through. I could never fathom losing my child at such a young age through such unspeakable actions. My wife and I are expecting our first in a few months and the idea of losing that little girl who’s not even here yet sends shivers down my spine.
Sports are a part of our daily lives and in the wake of tragedy we’re told to carry on. So that is what we’ll do – as a nation, as families, as fans. We’ll watch an afternoon slate of football games. We’ll debate and discuss the day’s latest rumors and rumblings. Sports will once again be part of our healing process. Sports will comfort us and let us escape some of the stresses of our lives. We’ll move on. It’s what we do.