I thought a
lot about whether or not I should even begin to write something like this.
I’ve never met
Deanna Rivers or Chris Stewart or Matt Hardy or Bailey Wind. Shenendehowa is a
little out of my coverage zone and I know as much about high school diving as I
know about astrophysics. That’s not very much.
know anything about these kids and I felt as if I were intruding on some sort
of something if I tried to write a reaction about the all too tragic events of
But I had
been on a bus earlier on Monday night, coming back from visiting my sister in
NYC, when I saw that Tim Tebow had called Matt in the hospital. Despite the
fact that I was surrounded by strangers and sitting on a silent, dark bus, I started
to cry. Because I had witnessed a miracle.
talking a turning water into wine kind of thing, I’m talking about a human
miracle, the simple power of people united together, trying to help each other.
So as I sat in my apartment,
watching my Twitter feed blow up with message after message supporting Matt and
Bailey, I couldn’t help the emotion that I felt and for me, the only way to
deal with that kind of emotion is to write it out..
The whole night started for me,
when Frank Acker tweeted me about supporting the hastag #TebowCallMatt. Totally
normal right? Sure. Except Frank Acker is a student from Hoosic Valley – a school
that doesn’t compete with or against Shenendehowa or Shaker in any kind of
sport throughout the season.
If anything, Frank has met these
kids only a few more times than I have. But there it was, a tweet, asking me to
help, from a kid who didn’t have to even consider it.
And the tweets and retweets kept
coming and coming and coming.
Kids who had never even heard of Matt
or Bailey before the tragedy this weekend were suddenly taking to Twitter in a
way I had never even considered possible before. But that wasn’t all.
I checked my Facebook and suddenly
people I went to high school with – spread out across the country in various
colleges and towns and jobs – were posting statuses asking for help in getting
Matt and Bailey into the national trending topics.
Head back to Twitter and there they
were - #TebowCallMatt and #MissyCallBailey – right in the middle of trending
Kids, athletes, student athletes,
reporters, parents, community leaders; all of them came together and made
something happen last night. We weren’t different schools or different
companies or competing for Twitter followers and retweets. We were pulling for something
that was, and still is, a million times bigger than any single one for us.
And it all worked. Tebow called
Matt, Missy called Bailey. It all worked.
A group of kids started something
on Monday night, something small, that spread and grew and produced a miracle. I
say that without any sense of irony or sarcasm. This was a miracle.
I’ve always told people that the
reason I love covering high school sports so much is because of the kids. These
are student-athletes who are simply playing because they enjoy the sport. And
last night these student-athletes rallied together simply because they saw
tragedy in front of them and decided to not let it completely drown them.
I can’t begin to imagine the kind
of loss that people felt this weekend. But I can think about losing my sister
or my boyfriend or my friends and just the mere thought of it makes it feel as
if a rock has been placed on my chest and all the air has been forcibly removed
from my lungs.
Tonight there is a vigil at
Shenendehowa for the lives lost over the weekend and the two lives that are
still fighting in hospital beds. I know we’ve done a lot – more than a lot –
already, but if the Capital Region is as incredible as it acted last night, I
know we’ll pack the stadium at Shen tonight.
It might be a little greedy of me,
but I’m asking for another 518 miracle.
The time will pass and the pain we’ve
all felt so sharply over the course of the last 72 hours will dull ever so
slightly, but I’m asking that we don’t ever forget. Because forgetting brings
us back to square one and it does a disservice to Chris and Deanna and the
lives that they could have led.
We have to remember because, and I’ve
never believed it more than I do right now, there is still some good left in
the world. There are still people – kids – who will get away from their video
games and TV shows and use the world in front of them to make something happen.
I’ve lived in the Albany area for
the majority of my 23 years on the Earth and there has never been a single
moment in those 23 years when I have been more proud of this area of the kids
that live here.
So now we remember. We remember and
we acknowledge our ability to change things for the better. Because we can. And
that’s a miracle.