Editorial

It's Our Call: Safety Over High School Football Titles

Robbins Nest

The following article, written by Lenn Robbins, Editor-in-chief of the New York Extra is not endorsed by the ownership of the publication. However, Mr Robbins has complete editorial freedom to express his views and is supported in this regard. Neil Miller,publisher and owner,The New York Extra

By Lenn Robbins

   Maybe only those that have known the most unbearable sadness can truly experience the most unfetted euphoria.

  When Riley Ward ripped off his helmet to show the face of pure, unbridled joy, when he raised his left arm and pointed his index finger skyward, when he was mobbed by teammates, many of who were ecstatically screaming, “Oh My God!  Oh My God!” did the guy next to me, also transfixed by the images of the TV say:

 “That’s God at work right there.”

 This God entity can be challenging to understand. Some would say we’re not meant to understand. Certainly faith can help us make some sense, take some comfort, in the incomprehendable.

Maybe a higher power was at work Saturday night when the high school football team from the Connecticut town where Sandy Hook Elementary School is located, won its first state title exactly seven years to the day that a madman massacred 26 people, 20 of whom were six and seven-year-old children.

 Since this is a sports column, let’s give this higher power entity the benefit of the doubt,  and discuss religion another day.

  Which begs one question:

 If God was at work Saturday night, what the hell have our elected officials been doing  the last seven years? This isn’t a question for Republicans or Democrats. It’s a question for mothers and fathers, congressmen and senators, governors and the president.

 Why has there been no significant change in this country when it comes to making it  harder to buy weapons that have nothing to do with self defense but everything to do with mass slaughter?

 The second amendment is fine with me. If citizens in upstate New York did not have the right to bare arms, the escapees from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora would have had many more places to find refuge.

 As someone who legally owned a gun when living in New Jersey, it was reasurring to have to attend a gun safety course to get that license. The instructor said (I’m paraphrasing here) if someone is intent on doing you harm and he or she doesn’t back away after hearing the chambering of a round, no gun in the world can keep you safe.

We need to keep ourselves safe which means exercising some commom sense.

 No assault rifles. No large capacity magazines. No bump stocks.

 Hopefully, prayfully, No dead children.

  What transpired Saturday night was beyond explanation, just as Mike Piazza’s home run 10 days after 9-11 was inexpicable and eternal.

  “I’m so proud of my kids for not giving up,’’ Newtown coach Bobby Pattison told reporters after the game. “We had moments in that game where it didn’t look too good for Newtown … I’m so proud of the kids. I couldn’t be happier.”

    Newtown beat Darien, 13-7, on the game’s last play when quarterback Jack Street found Riley through the fog for a 36-yard touchdown and the state LL championship.  Kudos to the Darien Blue Wave, a high school I once covered while working at the Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time, which Tweeted:

  While a State Championship loss is never easy to swallow, the joy it is bringing @newtownfootball and the entire #Newtown community is certainly numbing our pain. #NightHawkPride #FootballBrothers

  Newtown linebacker Ben Pinto’s seven-year-old brother, Jack, was killed in that 2012 massacre. No one can imagine that family’s grief or the grief of any family that has lost a child, especially to gun violence because our “leaders” have shamefully gotten up every morning to their lattes instead of passing gun control legislation.

 Riley’s celebration was one for the ages. Like the late N.C. State coach Jimmy Valvano, who couldn’t find a player to hug after the Wolfpack won the 1983 NCAA Tournament, Riley, Lucky No. 13 in your books, raced through the end zone, a self-driving car that had malfunctioned.

 He was bathed in the love and joy of his teammates and townspeople. But wouldn’t it be so much better to live in a world in which a high school football team didn’t have to help a community heal because there was no manmade tragedy to recover from?

   Surely, we’d all trade a state title celebration for a state of safety for our children. Our “leaders” have no excuses. Get to work!

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