After last week’s tragic event in Uvalde, Texas, we lost 19 beautiful kids at the hands of an 18-year-old young man with a gun. It was difficult to write a column about sports and pretend like this horrible event didn’t take place.
We can’t become numb to these killings because they have become commonplace in this country. Especially when it’s our children—our most precious commodity—who are being killed.
During my whole life and career, I’ve been an advocate and voice for kids.
I’ve worked for 34 years in the public school system and five years in the Juvenile justice system.
As a father, uncle, Godfather, and coach, all I could think about were those kids who didn’t deserve what happened to them. As a father, we want to protect our kids from all hurt, harm, and danger. Just imagine what those fathers are feeling right now. They couldn’t be there for their kids when they really needed them. Although it’s not any fault of theirs, some of them are feeling like they failed their kid.
Families and friends are dealing with some unimaginable pain and grief.
Some of those kids were involved in sports and were up and coming athletes.
They played in their last sporting events.
10-year-old Eliahana Cruz Torres got her last hit in her last softball game.
10-year-old Xavier Lopez made his last goal in his last soccer game.
10-year-old Alexandra ”Lexi” Rubio and 9-year-old Ellie Garcia both hit their last game winning shot in their last basketball game.
10-year-old Layla Salazar ran her last race and won six Blue Ribbons in her last field day.
10-year-old Tess Marie Mata watched her last Houston Astros game. She was a huge fan of Jose Altuve.
These beautiful babies will never get to live out their dreams of graduating high school, graduating from college, and having a successful career. Their parents won’t ever get to see them get married and have families and have babies.
You see this game called life is far more serious than sports. As a longtime coach, I’ve had to be a father figure to many of my former athletes, primarily because their fathers weren’t present in their lives. Some parents never made it to any of their kids’ games or attended any other school events, including their graduation.
Fathers, spend more quality time with your kids. Hug them and tell them you love them.
“Sports is a Game,” but this game called life will come calling when you least expect it.
“I Just Tell It Like It Is”
Burl ‘The Coach’ Jones