I went to a high school soccer game today. By all accounts, this is a normal thing for a parent with high school aged kids to do. I can honestly say, I’m not sure that I had ever attended one before, and other than the fact it was SO cold, I enjoyed myself. I love watching sports. While soccer is not a first love, seeing people I adore enjoy their favorite sport was so fun. The game was on the field at a local high school that is just miles from my house.
Something strange happened as I arrived at the school. I had a lump in my throat and I had to swallow hard to prevent it from coming out as tears. I pulled into the parking lot and as I found the location of the game and parked the car, my pulse quickened. I walked across the field – trying to focus on the game already underway – but my attention was torn by my racing thoughts.
The game was at Santa Fe High School. The soccer field where I watched the game was the field that I had watched on the news almost seven months ago. The rear of the school, just feet from where I sat, was the spot where law enforcement staged to secure the scene. 10 dead, 13 more wounded.
I have not been able to shake my feelings all day. I was there for a fun, for a first game of a new soccer season. My 16-year-old was excited to cheer on her boyfriend’s team. My younger daughter was along for the ride to see what high school sports were all about. We cheered. We laughed. But something just felt off to me. On May 18th, kids were arriving to finish the school year. Others were preparing to take an AP test. It was a normal day. Until it wasn’t.
And nothing has been the same since. All around town, Santa Fe Strong signs stand. There are memorial flowers in front of the school. 10 families just experienced their first Christmas without their loved ones. Life forever changed that day. Yet we have gone on. We went on summer vacations. We shopped for back to school clothes. We had Thanksgiving dinner.
So my challenge to you, especially my local friends, is to drive by Santa Fe High School in the coming weeks. Choose to remember, and not forget that day. We have so much work to do in the name of compassion and hope and justice and reconciliation. May the events of that day reignite your passion to make this world a better place. And should your compass be pointed in the direction of anti-bullying or mental health or gun reform, please don’t be like me and let your passion wain because a little time has passed. Our world, and especially our kids, need us.