I’m proud to be a sports fan. I love turning on the TV, flipping to whatever sports channel I can find, and watching a game for an hour or two. I keep updated with the latest sports news, refreshing ESPN.com or SI.com several times a day. I follow every sports team, from pro to college in the Bay Area region. Yes, I’m a sports nut, and I’m pretty damn proud of it.
But there are some days when sports must take a back seat, when we must examine ourselves as a society instead of immersing in box scores and injury updates.
Today is one of those days. Sports may be a major part of my life, but today, I couldn’t care less about it.
I first saw it this morning on Yahoo news on my iPad: “Shooting at Elementary School in Connecticut.” I tapped on the article, and there was a photo of kids holding on to each other in a single-file line, crying as they were led out of the school.
The story continued to develop as the day went along – a gunman had opened fire inside a school in Connecticut and killed 26 people, including 20 children.
Twenty children. Think about it. 20 children, who, as President Obama said, “had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.”
Twenty children who will not come home from school tonight. Parents, siblings, and relatives who will grieve the loss of a child, and never got a chance to say goodbye. An entire community that will be changed forever.
So how can we go back to sports after a tragic day like this? How can we start discussing the NHL lockout when the second largest school shooting in U.S. history occurred just hours ago? How can we look forward to the Niners vs. Patriots primetime matchup when our nation is faced with yet another tragedy? How can we celebrate the Warriors’ five-game road-winning streak after a psychopath decides to kill 20 children in a school, where kids should supposedly feel safe?
The answer is simple: we can’t. When something as tragic and horrifying as the events of today occur, how can we even think about any of the above situations?
It goes without saying that I would rather have Gary Bettman cancel the NHL season, have the NFL postpone the Niners’ game on Sunday, and see the Warriors go 0-5 to begin their road trip than read about what happened at an elementary school in Connecticut today.
So, my fellow sports fans, I’m not asking you to take ESPN.com off your bookmarks bar, nor am I asking you to call your cable company to cancel your NFL Red Zone package.
All I’m saying is that you take some time and think about the tragedy in Connecticut, and all the parents who lost their children today. Think about that for a few seconds.
Now, think about the 49ers’ quarterback controversy, the Oakland Raiders’ six-game losing streak, or whatever issue concerns your favorite team. Doesn’t seem important at all now, huh?
As I sit here typing at my laptop, I look out the window, beyond the fence that separates my backyard from the playground of an elementary school. I see and hear kids having fun: going down the slides, shouting “woohoo” on the swing set, and playing a game of tag.
I cannot imagine anyone who would be so cold-hearted to fire away ruthlessly at innocent children, and I cannot imagine what I would do and how I would feel if someone decided to go on a rampage like that in my community.