Today, a response to Tuesday's post from Tim Holley, athletic director at the Gilman School in Baltimore. Tim and I agree on most things in the realm of kids and sports. We disagree about the Virginia lacrosse situation. Tim makes a thoughtful case that the seasons should go on, partly in tribute of Yeardley Love, partly to aid in the healing of UVA athletes.
I think that while the tragedy is about as devastating as things could get for a school program, there is some merit in moving forward with the season so that the kids on those teams have something else to do other than dwell on what has happened.
Interestingly, this hit home for me because my oldest daughter was a friend of the victim. She called me wailing on the phone from Syracuse and talking about this was too much for her to bear and that what was the point in going on! I tried to comfort her by saying that life does go on, and that God wants us all to carry on until He says the “race is over.”
I told her that she still had to finish her tasks (exams, graduation, interviews, etc.) and that Yeardley would encourage her (as she would her teammates and schoolmates) to do that if she were able. I said to her that the best way to honor Yeardley’s life (and her own) was to continue to strive to be the best that she can be. I told her that if the Good Lord called ME home today, I would want her to keep her appointments and continue to strive to be as successful as she could be. That would honor my life more than her mourning.
As you know full well, when your children hurt, it hurts you more. I didn’t know Yeardley, but the pain of her death still struck me as a teacher, coach, and dad - particularly as dad (in this case directly and indirectly).
There does have to be some respect and deference given to the seriousness of the circumstances and the grief process for both families and the institutions involved (UVA, Notre Dame Prep, and Landon). I think that all involved will and have already started to pay appropriate deference.
This is a cliché, I know, but I do think that both kids involved (the victim and perpetrator) would want their teammates to continue to strive for what they had been working for together. I think that those kids on both teams need to “finish the race” and that would be the best way to honor their fallen teammates and to continue on in as healthy a manner as possible.
In fact, I believe that the remainder of the season will serve as a comfort (and maybe a healthy respite from the grief) for all during this difficult time. I believe that our old fellow alumnus, Mr. Littlepage, made the appropriate decision. My sense, too, is that the process he took to arrive at the decision was appropriate as well.
There are no rights or wrongs here. If UVA had decided to cancel both seasons, that would have been a fine decision as well. It appears to me, after some soul searching and discussion, that they made a good decision for the benefit of all concerned.
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