Tag Archives: Bobby Ryan

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

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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.

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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.

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**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.

Good News Friday: NHL players score, fans get puppies! Ben Folds Five and Fraggle Rock’s awesome video. And a high school wrestler lets himself get pinned by a boy with Downs Syndrome

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And a Happy Friday to you out there on the InterWebs. Me and the family are headed to South Jersey for the weekend with friends, which means we are legally required to listen to Bruce Springsteen for the ride down (we probably would anyway even if it wasn’t the law).

Hope you have a great weekend, let’s start today’s GNF with two things we all agree are awesome: Hockey players and puppies.

Last week in Ottawa, a Senators fan help up a sign for star Bobby Ryan that read “Bobby Dad said if you score we get a puppy.” And of course, Ryan scored later in the game.

Then a day later in Columbus, the above sign was held up, and boy, is that Dad going to be mad at Cam Atkinson (No. 13). Dude scored not once, not twice, but THREE times that night! I don’t know if this means that the family is getting three puppies, or three families will each get a puppy, or what.

But now #puppygoal is a Thing on Twitter and this will probably catch on and that’s awesome and the only down side I see are the tears of some 9-year-old girl when Ovechkin or Kane doesn’t score on the night they’re supposed to and she then has to live a canine-free life.

But hey, puppies in Ottawa and Columbus, two of you are about to get new homes!

**Next up, I love my wife. I like to make her happy and usually honor her requests. So when she sent me this video and told me it had to be in this week’s Good News Friday, I said “sure!” Because, again, I love my wife.

Then I watched it, and it’s pretty funny. Ben Folds Five, the cast of “Fraggle Rock,” and the gorgeous and talented Anna Kendrick (I may have mentioned this before, but she’s on my Top-3 list of “celebrities I’m allowed to sleep with” should the opportunity ever arise. And yes, Ross Gellar, my list is laminated.)

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**Finally today, this is beautiful and heartwarming. A high school wrestler named Deven Schuko of Norton High in Mass. was undefeated this season, going 27-0. Until last week, when he allowed himself to be pinned by Andrew Howland of Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High. Howland suffers from Downs Syndrome, and has been an honorary member of the Dighton-Rehoboth team. He’d wanted the chance to wrestle, and when Schuko’s coach asked if anyone would be willing to take Howland on, Schuko volunteered.

Watch the video of the match here.

“If I had to lose to someone, I’d like to lose to Andy,” Schuko told WCVB-TV. “It was a win-win in my book. He won, I won.”
Good on ya, Deven Schuko. Compassion and heart are much-needed in the sports world, always.