Canzano: The madness must stop
Sports -- but first, an important message
Like a lot of you, I struggled to make sense of our world on Tuesday. An 18-year old gun man with a troubled upbringing walked into an elementary school in the small city of Uvalde, Tex. and opened fire on children and teachers.
The death toll: 21.
I have three daughters. Two of them are still in elementary school. When they walked through the door on Tuesday, I stopped what I was doing, hurried to them, bent to a knee, hugged them and kissed them both on the forehead.
I am deeply disappointed. I’m outraged. I’m frustrated. I’m confused as to why school safety isn’t a top-line item in the minds of our nation’s leaders. And I’m sick that we continue to bicker as if there are two — or three or four — sides to a debate that really has only one — the safety of our children.
Is anyone really against that?
Why then would anything come before it?
My wife volunteered in our middle-daughter’s kindergarten classroom a couple of years ago. She registered with the school, showed up one morning for her volunteer shift, and then, came home with tears in her eyes.
“They practiced a lockdown drill today,” she said, falling into my arms.
Kids tucked into a corner away from the doors and windows. Bookshelves moved to create a blockade in front of the kids. The children told to be silent.
My wife dropped the kids off at school on Wednesday morning. She noted that there was extra security in front of the school as she parked. She asked the 6-year old and 7-year old if they’d heard what happened in Texas.
They were then told that a bad person went to a school and hurt a bunch of people with a gun. My wife explained, “Dad and I are very sad about it. We cried last night and today. I’m telling you because I wanted you to hear it first from us.
“It’s OK to be sad.”
I hate that she had to have that conversation. I loathe that they had to hear it. The biggest worry I had in elementary school was whether I’d done my homework assignment correctly. My wife told me she walked with our kids to the doors of the school and hugged them.
“I cried as I watched them walk in,” she said.
There is only one side to this debate. You’re either with children or you’re not. You’re either willing to support whatever security measures and legislation it takes to ensure that America’s 27th school shooting in 2022 isn’t followed by the No. 28 and No. 29 and No. 30 or you’re not.
Pretty simple stuff, really.
I work in sports. I write it. I talk it on radio and television. My profession is a silly diversion. Sudden death? Do-or-die? We pretend the games are so much more than they are, but let’s not succumb to the illusion — they’re just games.
The conversations you’re having today with family, co-workers and friends will shift in the coming hours and days. We all know how this goes. We remain the only nation in the world infected by an epidemic of school shootings.
Are you good with children being safe from gun violence at school? Are you willing to make sacrifices to ensure safety? Be part of a series of solutions?
I’ll get back to writing sports here in a matter of seconds, promise. I’ll do a three-hour radio show today, too. It’s my job. I promise that you won’t have to read me writing about guns and schools here on a regular basis. But I need something in return.
I need it to stop.
DIAMOND TALK: The Pac-12 Conference’s inaugural baseball tournament began this morning in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Game 1 featured Oregon vs. Arizona.
This event is going to be a big-time hit for the conference. It not only gives the conference programs one final opportunity to showcase themselves against the top Pac-12 competition, it creates an interesting media asset.
The games are being carried on the Pac-12 Network. It lends some fresh, live content. But I imagine some potential media-right’s partners for the conference might be interested in having the content, too.
TEED UP: No. 2-seed Oregon and No. 1-seed Stanford are meeting in what has become an all-Pac-12 women’s NCAA Championship match today in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The match is slated for 1:35 p.m. today. Commissioner George Kliavkoff is expected to make an appearance. He’s been particularly visible lately in support of Pac-12 rowing, water polo, beach volleyball softball, track and other non-revenue generating sports.
Over the weekend, Kliavkoff used Twitter to celebrate the fact that five of the conference’s seven softball teams advanced to Super Regionals. The commish pointed out that it was “the most of any conference.”
A week before that Kliavkoff celebrated USC’s beach volleyball national title win over Florida State. It happened to come on the same day that Stanford’s women’s water polo team won the national championship. Kliavkoff noted that they were national titles No. 542 and 543 for the Pac-12.
Oregon vs. Stanford for the women’s golf national championship?
The Pac-12 will get title No. 544 today.
BIG-TIME DEBUT: Anyone else moved by the “look around” that Baltimore Orioles rookie catcher Adley Rutschman took as he walked on the field at Camden Yards for the first time?
I loved it. Rutschman is such a good player and a wonderful story. I first saw him compete as a high school football player at Sherwood High. He played both ways and kicked a 50-yard field goal in the game I saw. The only other player I’ve ever witnessed as dominant in a single high school football game was the late Pat Tillman, who was a superstar. Turns out Rutschman was an even better baseball player.
Rutschman’s baseball career at Oregon State made you believe he would one day put on a big-league uniform. But actually seeing him walk on the field and soak it in was something else. His first hit was a triple, but that first moment was even cooler.
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