My Two Cents for July 23rd:
A Senseless and Needless Tragedy- Normally I would be using this piece to write about the Sharks, the NHL and some of the things going on in the world of sports of noteworthy significance. Today I’m am finding that to be a very difficult task. So I just decided that I would take a few moments to write about my thoughts regarding the horrific events of this past weekend in Aurora, Colorado. We all know by now what happened and the graphic details that followed. I’m not going rehash about any of that since there are a number of media outlets that have those bases covered.
First off and really most importantly, for all those families who either lost loved ones or had a loved one either injured or somehow managed to escape the movie theater with their lives, you have my condolences along with the entire community of hockey writers and sports media in this most horrible of tragedies. This alone is not near enough, and I don’t know what ever can be given the magnitude of the tragedy. In the hockey community, we lost one of our own and were absolutely heart sickened to hear the passing of Jessica (Redfield) Ghawi. Ghawi was at the theater and was one of the twelve that lost their lives in the mass shooting. All twelve deaths are equally tragic. If you are in the business of what we do either professionally or even just as fan of the game of hockey, Jessica Ghawi was one that was in the family of all those who followed the sport of hockey and did so at all levels. Ghawi grew up falling in love with the sport in of all places San Antonio, Texas. She moved to Denver from San Antonio to further her career as a hockey and sports reporter.
She was working with Mile High Sports Radio in Denver and was described as someone that was truly a go getter and was very eager to do and learn. Personally, I did not know or never met Jessica Ghawi, however here is how we in this writing and hockey community relate to her. First of all I, along with every staff member of Blades of Teal and Fansided are all in the same community of hockey writers and bloggers who work for our love for the sport of hockey and sports in general. Some of us if we are lucky enough will find a career in doing this and the good lord willing make a living (maybe a decent living) from it. Ghawi was well on her way to maybe one day working with the Colorado Avs (who she was a huge fan of) or maybe even further (maybe Altitude Network which televises the Avs in Denver area). You also may remember Ghawi was actually in Toronto last month and just narrowly missed being in the crossfire of the mall shooting there in June. She was there visiting her boyfriend who was playing minor league hockey in the Toronto area. Ghawi blogged her thoughts and wrote about how fragile life really is. Here is a link to an article our own Andy (bleeding teal) wrote a few days ago. It’s an excellent piece worth the read:
Secondly, I have a niece and nephew who are in the same age group and are both well on the way to their successes in life. Both are in the education business and like Ghawi have dreams of success and are doing what they love to do and want to do, which is huge. Both my niece and nephew go to the movies often with a bunch of friends of their’s and make the evening a special and fun event. One of my thoughts when I first learned of this tragedy early Friday morning was that this could have happened anywhere and had this been anyone in my family, I cannot even fathom how I would have reacted. That said, I cannot fathom how the families effected here will recover but I know it won’t by any time soon. In watching the hearing today for this idiot who committed this heinous act and can only tell you that I can promise that this person who’s name I refuse to utter here will see justice twice, in the judicial system and with his maker. The Colorado District Attorney is expected to file formal chargers next Monday (July 30th). The worst thing about this to me is that of all the lives that were lost in this horrific event, the youngest victim was six year old girl. There were also three members of our military and a man celebrating his 27th birthday birthday and first wedding anniversary (which would have been Sunday).
A man who I have to admire and give credit for being a tower of strength in this whole situation with Jessica Ghawi is her brother Jordan Ghawi who has gone to Colorado so he can bring Jessica home. He did an interview on KUSA-TV in Denver and was a strong as one could be. To here him speak was grace under the most difficult of circumstances. I give him credit because very few people can handle a tragedy like this with a gracefulness and with class as he has. He has my admiration for not just being there under these circumstances for a fallen family member, but also for handling it with a level of strength very few could even imagine.
I also give a ton of credit to all of those who dove upon others willing to sacrifice their lives to save others, albeit family members or complete strangers. The man who was with Ghawi when she was shot, Brent Lowak, tried to administer first aid to Ghawi before he was hit himself. Also to John Blunk. Matt McQuinn, & Alex Teves who did not hesitate to protect their loved ones even if it meant the loss of their lives. Many more were truly heroic here and it is my hope that in the coming days, weeks and months that we hear more about the hero’s here, including the first responders and Aurora Police Department. I hope that we hear less about the idiot coward shooter at least up and to the time justice is brought before him. Now I have a greater understanding of the song “Youth of The Nation” by POD, they were talking about people just like this creep.
Dealing with Tragedies- One of the happiest moments in my life was my wife and I getting married, though it just a month after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. My wife had relatives from New York and other parts of the country that were afraid to fly to California because of the recent tragedy and elected to say home. I did not blame them and never would hold that against them. I spoke with my father about this about three days after these attacks about him flying down from Northern California to San Diego and maybe seeking another mode of transportation. My father responded with an answer that I will admit was not politically correct, but he made a good point. He told me that nobody was going to keep him off of any airplane, period. He told me to stop worrying about it and advised me that you have to live your life, and to live in fear is just to waste time and stealing time from yourself and your wife. You have to be able to live your life and know that though fragile you must not be afraid to live. If you lock yourself in your home, you may be safe but you will not experience what life is.
Life is a series of triumphs and sometimes tragedies. We are all here for a reason from a power greater than the some of all of us. Though life is fragile and we cannot for moment forget about our own mortality, but at the same time we cannot allow that to limit us. If you have children who have some knowledge about what happened here and notice they are afraid, let them know that bad things do happen in the world but also all the good in the world will always outweigh and ultimately triumph over any evil or wrong doings. We need to teach them not to be afraid to live their lives, and they have a lot to live for. We all do.
If your are in this business, you keep going. We are all now blogging for Jessica Ghawi. We cannot replace her, nor can we echo her thoughts or wonder what she would have said or written or even so much as thought. What we can do is know that we are one person down now and must rededicate ourselves and do so here proudly. Our own Amy Gist on a facebook post echoed this same sentiment and I’m with here lockstep on this. Today I am sad, but today I am also more motivated than ever to make sure that Jessica Ghawi is not forgotten. I may have never have had the pleasure and honor to meet Jessica Ghawi, but I know that with her passing we lost a quality member of our community and even more importantly a quality human being.
I don’t have any idea what the NHL will do in all of this, but I’m sure that at least the Colorado Avs will do something. They should, and I believe they will. In a fitting tribute, the ABC affiliate in San Antonio, KSAT television made Ghawi an honorary member of the sports department. A Good Call:
In Other News Very Briefly: Penn State Sanctions- This news is many ways is just trivial given the events of this past weekend, but the NCAA hammered Penn State with possibly the stiffest of penalties Monday as the NCAA came down swift and hard. The Sanctions are 1) A four year bowl ban; 2) Loss of 50 scholarships over the next five years; 3) A forfeiture off all wins including bowl wins from 1998 through 2011; 4) A $60 million fine, equal to a years revenue for the football program. Penn State’s president and hierarchy manned up and excepted the sanctions without question. Also, the statue of Joe Paterno outside of Beaver Stadium has been removed as it should be. The NCAA got this one right, period. On the Jim Rome radio show today, Rome reported that not Penn State all board members agreed with the decision and were upset by it. I tweeted to Jim Rome that if anyone on that board disagreed with the decision, they should just resign. Those board members are only part of the problem and are in no way a solution to anything. I will refrain from mentioning the perpetrator here too in respect to the main topic of this article. We all know who he is.
Looking Ahead- I would much rather write about the Sharks and the NHL then what this article today is about. However I just feel it’s important to have perspective. Sports is many ways for us is a temporary escape from the real world if only a few hours. It’s the “Toy Department” of life. I talk sports with most people I know because it’s not only an ice breaker, but it’s also a way to build comradely. I talk sports with family, friends, even neighbors and co-workers. It’s what brings us all here. It’s what brought Jessica Ghawi here. Let’s all just take a moment to remember that through this we will all one day find both peace and strength, especially to those in Colorado. It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. And for those immediately effected by the tragedy this past weekend, our thoughts and prayers and always remember the good lord will always be with you in the good times and the bad. Never lose your faith.
In Memory of Jessica Redfield Ghawi: November 27th, 1987 – July 20th 2012 Rest In Peace…
…just my two cents, though today it’s not nearly enough…
The King Shark
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PS: *The opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not reflect on any other staff member’s opinions with Blades Of Teal, Fansided or their websites themselves… The King Shark…