Our heartfelt prayers go to the friends and families affected by the senseless shootings at Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio. Three young men died for no purpose at all, may they rest in peace. We commend Coach Frank Hall, who heroically chased away the shooter. It would have been worse had Coach not stepped in.
This violent act was premeditated by a child with a serious mental illness. It has been reported by the NY Times that the Ohio shooter had no specific target, he preyed upon all students within his narrow path of destruction.
Our team discussed this occurrence at length today during our daily meeting. We talked about how this incident may have been prevented had the gunman’s family sought professional help shortly after noticing signs of his mental illness. But signals were missed or ignored. The shooter’s father was incarcerated for attempted murder in 2002 and a year later released. Maternal grandparents took care of the child and, though not confirmed, did nothing about treating his illness. How supportive was his family? The concentration of solid family foundation is essential for a child’s development (supportive families create YFO All-Stars).
We’re left wondering- had the Ohio school shooter been in a safe and structured environment, would this incident have occurred? A Facebook rambling (read the full post) several months ago provides insight into how he was feeling. “In a quaint lonely town, sits a man with a frown. No job. No family. No crown. His luck had run out..” This paints the picture of a young man depressed, without self-confidence, lost and alone. With too much time on his hands and an obvious mental disorder this should have been a red flag for someone to get this kid help.
Could the child’s involvement in sports, specifically youth football, have prevented this tragedy? We’ll never know. We do know it would have kept him busy and would have given him purpose, even if minimally.
Playing youth football provides family. Your teammates and coaches become part of your extended support circle, you battle with them each and every day at practice, then on game day. Steele from the Newark, NJ Pop Warner youth football league observes a renewed sense of self-confidence from kids in his program as the youth football season progresses. He says it’s amazing to see. Playing football provides structure and teaches life lessons, lessons the shooter so desperately needed to learn.
Please support our change.org petition to make youth football free to those families who can’t afford to play: