Sandy Hook Elementary prepares to re-open, four years after the horror. An inspiring story of an Olympic swimmer with Crohn’s Disease. And a beautiful tribute to a mom from an NHL star


It’s been nearly four years, and it still seems kind of unfathomable, doesn’t it?

A man walked into an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 12, 2012 and killed 26 people, including 20 children, some as young as 6 years old.

It was supposed to change everything, the great Charlie Pierce writes in this piece that I highly, highly urge you to read. A man slaughtering children, with an arsenal of weapons on his person, was supposed to finally, finally, finally be the massacre that made Americans demand that our elected legislators in Congress do something about gun control, and how incredibly easy it has been to kill fellow citizens.

From Pierce: “The NRA and its hirelings used the slaughter of children to line their pockets. The Republican majorities in the Congress hid behind the drapes, and Sandy Hook slipped into memory, one more station on an endless road to an armed and dangerous Golgotha.”

But as you know, nothing changed, and I don’t want to go off another rant about guns here. Instead, read this piece by Pierce about Sandy Hook Elementary getting ready to open once again in a few weeks (it’s at a new location, thankfully), and think about the power of the human spirit, and how even in a place where such horror occurred, there can be positive thoughts like this one:

“Our school is built on being nice to each other, as our principal, Dawn Hochsprung, always said and preached,” said Newtown First Selectman Michael Llodra.


I hope the children of Sandy Hook have nothing but happy days in their sparkling, $50 million new school.

But it’s an absolute tragedy that it had to be built at all.

**Next up today, a happier story from my man Joe Posnanski, who’s going to be all Olympics, all the time for a few weeks for NBC Sports. Joe always writes best when he writes about his family, and this week he wrote a beautiful story about Olympian Kathleen Baker, whose Crohn’s disease mirrored that of Joe’s daughter. Baker had to completely change her training and re-adjust her goals, but she made the Olympics anyway.

I loved this story, and not just because I, too, have Crohn’s (a much, much, much milder form than Joe’s daughter or Baker does, though.)

It’s a great read.


**Finally, The Player’s Tribune, the Derek Jeter-founded website that allows athletes to speak directly to fans, continues to put out tremendous content.

Bobby Ryan, an NHL star, lost his mother, Melody Stevenson, to cancer recently, and the loss understandably devastated her son.

Ryan’s father was incredibly abusive, and he beat up his wife almost to the point of killing her one night in 2000. Bobby and Melody fled to avoid him, and Ryan’s father was eventually caught and sent to prison, and then it was just Bobby and Mom, trying to make a life for themselves.

From Ryan’s piece:

As I reflect on our time together, there’s something I really need to tell you — and for the world to hear me say it: Thank you, Mom. Thank you so much.

Thank you for putting your life on the back-burner for several years just so that I could be happy. I know you didn’t have anyone to lean on, but you understood how much I needed you, and so you gave me all of yourself.

Thank you for showing me what it means to be a professional, for showing me that no matter what obstacle you may be facing, the best approach is always to just put your head down and go to work.

Thank you for helping me get through the eighth and ninth grades when neither of us really knew what we were doing with the whole home school thing. I still can’t believe we pulled a 3.0 GPA.

Thank you for playing so many roles in my life. You were my only parent for so long, but when it was time you were still able to let me go so that I could learn about the world on my own. I know how difficult that was for you. One of the biggest reasons I am where I am today is because you put me in a position to succeed. And not only succeed, but succeed on my own.

The whole thing is great. And after you read it, if you’re able to, call your mother. I know I did.


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