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Sports Commentary 12/20/12

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A High School Basketball game was played last night…in Newtown.

NEWTOWN 64 MASUK 44

In girls high school basketball action last night in Newtown, Connecticut the Newtown Nighthawks defeated traditional rival Masuk-Monroe 64-44 behind a pressing defense. The final score will soon be forgotten and will always be secondary. The outcome, on this night, in this town, did not matter. It was only a game. But it was the first sports event to go on as scheduled in Newtown since December 14th. It signalled the beginning of a great comeback for a town for whom, for nearly a week, the transition from one day to another has gone virtually unnoticed as darkness never gave way to light. Empty seats outnumbered those that were used at the Newtown High School gym last night. It was understandable. Slowly, more and more of the citizens of Newtown will begin to find their way back to normal, or as close to it as they will ever be able to get. For now, for far too many of them, it is still time to mourn, to bury and honor their cherished, innocent loved ones. Newtown 64 Masuk 44. It was a start, a new beginning. In a town that has been overrun by media, local and national, too much of it less than legitimate and making a shambles of the facts of their tragic story, the new beginning would be surrounded in the old normalcy. Newtown athletic director Gregg Simon barred the media from last night’s game, turning down all requests from the top reporters in the state and national household names. Only the media that regularly covers his teams for the local outlets were granted access. It’s difficult to argue with his preemptive motives to keep the first step back to pre December 14th life from becoming a media circus. We’re all geniuses in hindsight. After the fact we all come up with ways in which things could have been better handled. Simon, understanding that an entire world that has shared the grief of his small town yearns to share in the healing, to know that the town it has adopted will emerge from the darkness, may have been better advised to arrange a gathering in the gym, hours before the game, to accomodate all media who requested credentials to give them an opportunity to hear from the coach and captains. The game could have gone on in it’s normalcy but the words “Our comeback begins here”, from a sixteen or seventeen year old basketball player representing that town would have graced the banners of newspapers world wide and given sinking hearts around the globe a needed lift. To have the leading legitimate journalists in the state, those closest to the hearts and minds of those most emotionally affected, relay with their usual clarity those first moments of healing, would have been like a salve on all of our wounds. It’s difficult to argue with the feelings of a town in mourning about the actions of an incredible hoard of media punctuated by an overzealous few but they surely must realize now that they are no longer citizens of Newtown, Connecticut, they have become citizens of the world. We all care for them very deeply. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.

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