Sports are a kind of escape for many of us, and they also provide a bit of comfort in times of tragedy and sorrow. That has again been the case during the early stages of this weekend following the horrific events that transpired at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday morning, an unspeakable act of violence that has left 20 children, seven adults, and an obviously disturbed 20-year old dead, one that has also left a 24-year old man who was mislabeled a murderer by millions of people for several hours a different type of victim who must now bury his younger brother and mother. The most recent school shooting to occur in the United States has not just affected those in this country, something that has been made very clear in sporting venues located overseas over the past 12 hours.
Moments of silence were observed in NBA arenas throughout the US on Friday. Perhaps the most noteworthy of these occurred before the nationally televised Boston Celtics at Houston Rockets contest, as Houston head coach Kevin McHale appeared to be holding back tears. McHale’s 23-year old daughter died last month after losing her battle with Lupus.
The NFL is slated to have similar pregame tributes before each of the league’s Week 15 games.
Elsewhere around the NBA, Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant offered a personal tribute to the victims of the shooting. He sported a message of “Newtown, CT” on his shoes for his team’s game against the Sacramento Kings. OKC won that contest 113-103, and Durant finished with a game-high 31 points.
As stated earlier, the Newtown school shooting has impacted people from all around the world. Ian Darke opened the Saturday morning ESPN2 Premier League broadcast by first displaying the front page of local newspaper The Guardian. He then made the following remarks: “Even here in the United Kingdom, we’ve been shocked and appalled and saddened to hear the terrible news from Connecticut, and all our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.” Both Darke and broadcast partner Steve McManaman then commented on the tragedy at the very beginning of their match preview.
The players in EPL side Queens Park Rangers, a team that was located at the very bottom of the league table at the start of the day, honored the Newtown victims by wearing black armbands for their match against Fulham. QPR won that game 2-1, their first league victory of the 2012-13 campaign. Over in the Scottish Premier League, moments of silence were observed before match kickoffs.
No sporting event can fix or erase what took place in Newtown on Friday. Tributes and memorials at such coming-togethers merely offer reminders to that small community that the world mourns with it. Sports will carry on as normal this weekend, of course, and fans will again find themselves screaming at television sets or in stadiums/arenas as they cheer on their favorite teams. There’s nothing wrong with that. As we move on, however, we must remember those who are unable to do so, both the victims who were lost on Friday and also those who remain with us, people who continue to live through a real-life nightmare that right now has no end in sight.