- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Sometimes basketball provides an opportunity for a top performance outside the court.
Recently a terrible tragedy hit the high school of Chardon, Ohio, which is a small rural school not far from Cleveland. On this day, a former student entered the high school cafeteria and opened fire on a table of high school seniors. Three of the five students who were shot have since died.
There is no way to adequately describe the devastation the school and individual families felt after this random act of violence destroyed their well-being. The student body will never forget that day. It will be forever etched in their minds. They will always have a high level of vigilance because their high school environment proved non-protective.
For the families of the murdered teenagers their lives are forever impacted. Their hopes and dreams for their children are forever shattered. There always will be a hole in their hearts from the deaths of their children. It will be a long time before they will be able to experience any sense of normalcy in their lives. The death of a child is the most devastating type of lose an adult can experience.
The communities around Chardon naturally wanted to be supportive. It is a challenge for individuals and communities to respond at a devastating time such as the aftermath of a school shooting. Anything that can be thought to be said feels trivial and not powerful. Helplessness is an overwhelming feeling. Every person emotionally connected would try to figure what they could do that would be helpful to the victims family and community.
Clearly there is nothing magical that can be done to take away all the pain. However it is important to the healing process to be active in doing things that are helpful. People help the healing process by providing food and flowers in this difficult time. These types of actions provide energy to the long-term healing process.
Sometimes sports can be part of this process. There was a scheduled basketball game the day of shooting. It was rescheduled for Thursday of that week as an effort to bring back some level of normalcy to the routine of the grieving community. The opposing basketball team from Madison, Ohio, did understand how they could contribute a small part to the healing process. They found a way to demonstrate their solidarity with the grieving community. During the pregame all of the participants and many of the fans wore Chardon High School T-shirts. The gym was full of fans and supporters from both communities and through a small act of solidarity a small part of healing occurred.
The sporting event allowed two communities to come together and proclaim their support for the families in pain. It was an energizing event. There was a basketball game that night and Chardon High School won. It was important to each team to play to bring normalcy back to their communities. But it was a performance much bigger than a rivalry basketball game. It was an active healing event.
Not all top performances are about game score, number of rebounds or points scored by individuals. In this case the incredible performance was by a basketball community who reached out and tangibly said:
“We feel your pain. We are with you. We will help you move on into a new but painful world. We are with you.”
That is a performance to be proud of.
Keith Wilson is a performance consultant in Hardin County and owner of The Wilson Center for Performance. He is performance anxiety consultant to the Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center. He can be reached at TheWilsonCenter7@aol.com.