Thursday, January 13, 2011

Youthful Innocence

This editorial article is a vast departure from my other writings.  I’m sure that next week’s entry will return to the usual ranting and raving.  Hopefully, you’ll see why I chose to write these words at this specific time.

Some people say that sports are passed down from parent to child.  If a parent was involved in athletic pursuits as a youth, then their child is obviously inclined to follow in their footsteps.  This particular case is no different.

Baseball is in the genes.  Not only did this youngster get a passing interest of glory days gone by from the parents, but there was a living, breathing ancestor who had made it to the ‘big show.’  One of the child’s relatives had been a bona fide Major League baseball player with eight years of playing experience, eight years as a manager, and even performed the duties of general manager.  In addition, the child’s father still serves as a professional baseball scout supervisor.  So, it was ingrained in this youth to have a fervent passion for the sport.  Little League was, of course, an important part of life.  As with many children, the desire to become a professional athlete was unmistakable.

With many children, their interests are as diversified as the colors in a 96-count box of Crayola.  This youth was no exception.  Baseball is a family passion, but in this case, swimming is also a favorite pastime.  Other interests include helping less privileged children via charity work and a budding fascination with student government.  It is every parent’s wish to have children with an unquenchable desire to throw themselves fully into life.  After all, a well-rounded child usually grows up to be a balanced, upstanding individual…one to be proud of.  The parents must have been absolutely beaming by how their little third grader had grown up, while still enjoying a youthful exuberance.  At such a young age, an adolescent should be carefree, able to pursue each endeavor with a ravenous appetite. 

But, life can sometimes throw you an unexpected curveball – one that changes everything in a heart-stopping instant, one that hits you in the chest and leaves you breathless, literally in this case.  That is what happened to the happy-go-lucky, future Major Leaguer in this story…the one who was such a pleasure to her parents.

This nine-year old girl, who also loved ballet, gymnastics, and horses was struck down…not by an inside fastball or some illness, but rather, by a Glock 9mm bullet.  As most Americans know by now, her name was Christina Green.  She was the girl whose light left this world as a result of Jared Loughner’s attempt to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona, on January 8, 2011.  Unfortunately, Christina was one of six people murdered and 14 others injured by this disturbed individual.

Christina’s thirst for more knowledge about government led her to attend Congresswoman Giffords’ “Congress on Your Corner” at the local Safeway shopping center.  She had just been elected to student council and was interested to speak with the elected official. 

How could anyone have known that Loughner’s apparent psychosis would lead him to take out his delusions by spraying the crowd with gunfire?  There were many red flags in his troubled past, but no one could have foreseen his antisocial behavior, uneasy demeanor, and drug use causing a national tragedy.

Everyone is thankful that Rep. Giffords is exhibiting what can only be described as a phenomenal signs of recovering after being shot in the head.  While that is absolutely wonderful, we have seen six lives extinguished with no earthly hope for a new day.

I always picture my kids living long, healthy, and fruitful lives.  Every child deserves an opportunity to do just that.  An abominable incident like this quickly brings into focus that the promise of tomorrow is not always granted.  Would Christina have realized her dream of becoming the first female MLB player?  Would she have become a veterinarian?  A lawmaker?  Cured cancer?  Perhaps not, but the point is that we will never know.

Kids have this youthful innocence that is so endearing.  You can see it in the sparkle in their eyes.  Children can make an entire family feel “young.”  To know that the Green family has to lay one of their two children to rest has united a country in mourning.  Our collective heart is hurting with you.

Eerily enough, young Christina was born on September 11, 2001.  Her father, John Green (the pro scout) remarked that Christina “entered the world on a tragic day and she went out on a tragic day.”  But, for the time between, she was a beacon of everything that is right with the world.

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