The Kids (Should Be) Alright


It’s been several months since the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school. Conversations have been had about different laws and changes that should or should not be made — conversations that have shown the best and worst of us.

I’ve spent the last five years working as the head coach of a community swim team, bringing athletes (aged five to 16) to  pools and lakes in neighboring towns ­— including Newtown.

The thing is, when you get into that environment with 50 to 100 kids crying, scraping their knees and picking their noses, it all blends together. You rub a shoulder, kiss a booboo or hand over a tissue to your own little ones and the other teams’ indiscriminately. It’s automatic.

When a kid gets out of the pool at the end of a long, hard race or if they’re too scared to get in the water to begin with, you’re there. You tell them “It’s okay” and “You can do it,” because they’re young and full of potential and of course they can.

It doesn’t take a lot of work to really care for these kids. They’ve got this evolutionary advantage that makes them them pretty damn endearing. You want to keep them safe, watch them paddle off and experience great and beautiful victories.

The losses in Newtown are the sort to weigh heavily on your heart. Sure, monsters exist and sometimes they win. But, I’ll be damned if that makes it suck any less.

Yes, conversations are still being had. But in the end, I hope we remember runny noses, scraped knees and races that are never going to be finished. I hope we remember what we really should be protecting.