When devastating events such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that took place on Friday in Newtown, Connecticut occur, it takes us away from the personal problems that we have with our lives and makes us come together as one to take a step back and look at the big picture. Suddenly, the things we held in such high regard in our own lives temporarily become irrelevant. America is a very diverse country filled with countless amounts of races, religions, backgrounds, and views. However, when something of this magnitude happens it brings us altogether for something that all human beings can agree on, the value of life, especially that of a child. 20 children between the ages of 5 and 10 years old at Sandy Hook had their lives taken away from them before they even had a chance to do any wrong or right in this world. They were pure and innocent beings who in a world as cruel as it is today, gave society hope for the future. The other children who survived now have to live with the trauma they felt on that day for the rest of their lives.
No matter how small or large your role in society may be, whatever that role is, it takes a back seat. Even comedians who usually make light out of any situation step back and they are in just as much shock as ordinary people. It’s times like these where professional athletes have to remind people that they are human as well and that even they need a moment to process what they are seeing before their very eyes.
While sports seem irrelevant to many in times of grief like this, they also have the power to give people an escape from the cruel harsh realities of this world, even if just for a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. Today, every team in the NFL will have a decal on their helmets to honor the victims of the unfathomable events that took place just over 48 hours ago. Tommorow night the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans will pay the same respect. While sports do not have the power to bring lost loved ones back to life, they do give people a sense of normalcy, something to smile about no matter how brief the smile may be.
I will use an event in my personal life as an example. When I was thirteen years old my father was taken away far too soon from this world when his private twin prop plane crashed into a pond due to engine failures. I was absolutely devastated. I thought how could something so terrible happen to me and my family? It was a very dark time for me, it changed my perspective on everything. It was on that day that I felt my innocence be stripped away in an instant. It made me question everything I thought I believed. For a few months every day I woke up still in complete disbelief that my father was gone and that he would never be coming back. (at least not in the physical world) I found it very difficult to find motivation to do anything. There were very few things that helped me get through the battle I was fighting called “everyday life.” The support I received from my family and close friends was extremely heartwarming and it made me realize how blessed I was to have great people in my life despite having lost one of the people responsible for my existence. The one other thing that kept me going in these trying times was sports. They didn’t make the grieving process any easier, but it gave me the one thing I desperately needed, a distraction. Sports allowed me to take my mind off of the emotional roller coaster ride that ensued after my father’s passing. Whether I was playing football in a schoolyard after school, or just sitting at home watching the Jets and Yankees, I was able to find something to smile about, or something else to be upset or angry about. As brief as the happiness lasted, sports taught me the life long lesson that times of adversity are when your character is truly defined. I learned that no matter what happens, the world keeps on turning and there is always hope for a better tommorow.
With that being said I hope whoever may come across this post can understand where I am coming from. I want it to be clear that I am in no way trying to belittle this absolutely tragic event. I don’t think I said anything to make anybody think that I am, but just in case something gets lost through misinterpretation, I just wanted to clarify that. I just wanted to offer a little bit of my own personal experiences to try to relate with the grief that so many parents are going through right now. However, I also understand that a child’s loss of a parent does not compare to the pain caused by a parent’s loss of their child. With that being said, my heart goes out to the entire community of Newtown, Conneticut. Words can not describe what this small town is going through right now, but I am very confident that the community will become even closer because of this and they will rise up and overcome this tragedy that can’t even begin to be put into words.