Tag Archives: Emma Gonzalez

A pretty amazing March, in so many cities, gives me hope. A crushing loss for Duke made me sad, but how ’bout Loyola? And a Brazilian basketball shot I’ve never seen.

Well that was quite a weekend. On many, many fronts.

Before I get to the Stormy Daniels interview, and my agonizing three hours watching Duke come oh-so-close to another Final Four appearance before losing, I have to talk about the hundreds of thousands of people who marched on Washington, D.C., and in cities (and countries) all across the world on Saturday.

(My mother was one of those people, and I probably would’ve been too if not for months-ago purchased tickets to “Paw Patrol Live!” for me and the 3-year-old. Hey, you don’t mess around when Chase is on the case.)

It was called the March for Our Lives, but really, it was a March for the Future. For new leaders, for victims of so many school shootings in the past finally finding their voice, for the kids at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High who have galvanized so many of us.

It was truly a stunning event, and I think I agree with Esquire writer Andrew Cohen when he says “there’s no turning back now, our national debate about guns is over. The only question is how far and how fast change will go.”

I have lots of thoughts about the march and what it might accomplish, but it’s late and I’ve got lots to say about March Madness and neither one of us has time to read a 3,000 word post.

So let me just say these four things:

1.Signs like the one above just devastate me. That children like those the age of the one’s murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary, could be thinking about these things and having to deal with them is just… an incredible failing as a society. For a great gallery of photos from Marches across the globe, click here.

2. The speeches were fantastic; I highly recommend watching Emma Gonzalez’s moving tribute to her classmates who died, stay with it for all six minutes. But this speech, by 11-year-old Naomi Wadler, of Virginia, just knocked my socks off. The poise, the intelligence, the ability to be so forceful at her age… just amazing.

3. The absolute most important thing to come out of Saturday’s marches in the U.S.? Thousands of new voters. All of the speeches and all of the outrage does no good if it doesn’t lead to people showing up on the first Tuesday of November to vote, this year and every year. Too many times enthusiasm has petered out, I pray it doesn’t happen this time. Because this is a tsunami of political change just waiting to happen, if the momentum is kept up until Election Day.

4. The New England Patriots lending their team plane to transport the Parkland community families to fly to Washington, D.C. was an incredibly classy gesture. And you people know how hard it is for me to say anything nice about the Patriots. But this was a fantastic good deed.

**And now, to the NCAA Tournament. Another tremendous weekend of games. I gotta start with my Duke team, first. What a brutal loss Sunday night’s OT defeat to Kansas was.

Not just because of the shot by Grayson Allen, above, that rolled around the rim TWICE before bouncing out, a shot that would’ve won the game for Duke in the final seconds of regulation.(I’m going to be seeing that one in my head for weeks.)

But because it was an excruciating performance. The Blue Devils didn’t get the ball to their star, and the best player in America, Marvin Bagley III, nearly enough. Duke couldn’t hit a 3-pointer to save its life, saw Wendell Carter Jr. get into terrible foul trouble (and foul out on a hideous call by the refs.)

Even still, Duke was up 3, with 1 minute to go in regulation, and couldn’t close. All credit to Kansas and Malik Newman, especially. It was a sensational battle, and the Jayhawks deserved to win.

Duke fans are spoiled, 100 percent. But to be that close to a Final Four and not get there… ooof.

— Then there’s the amazing story of Loyola-Chicago, winning yet another game Saturday and sending 98-year-old nun Sister Jean Schmidt into an even greater stratosphere of celebrity. This Ramblers team, an 11 seed, winning like it has and getting to a Final Four, is just such a beautiful story.

— I thought the line of the weekend was from Yahoo! sports columnist Pat Forde: “Two women have dominated the headlines this weekend: Sister Jean and Stormy Daniels. They don’t have a lot in common.”

— I got zero Final Four teams right in my bracket. Somehow, 550 people out of 17.3 million on the ESPN bracket challenge picked all four Final Four teams. I think we’ll get two excellent games next Saturday, but this is Villanova’s title to lose right now. I think they are certainly the best team left.

But are YOU gonna bet against a 98-year-old nun?

**And finally, I guess I should say something about the Stormy Daniels “60 Minutes” interview, and how I completely believe she’s telling the truth, and how I’ll never look at a Forbes magazine in my doctor’s office the same way again, and how I can’t wait to see how all the evangelicals who talk about what a great moral, Christian man Trump is twist themselves into knots defending this man, and how all the outraged folks who are still pissed about Bill Clinton and Monica and Gennifer Flowers feel about President Orange Man having oh so many extramarital affairs.

But mainly, I look at that interview and see a star-struck woman who had her life threatened because she was in awe of the celebrity and power of Donald Trump and blames herself for all that happened because she agreed to go up to his hotel room one day.

And that makes me sad, and nauseous.

But instead of dwelling on that interview, I want to show you something amazing. In the Brazilian basketball league, playing for a team called Cearense, a man named Paulinho Boracini went to the free throw line with his team down three points, in the final seconds. He made the first foul shot. And then he did this (above), which I’ve never, ever seen before in four decades of basketball watching:

I mean…. that’s incredible. He could try that 1,000 times and not do it again. The 3-pointer is crazy enough, but how about the little bank of the glass, too?

Insane.

One of the Florida shooting survivors powerfully speaks out; is this what it finally takes? Thinking about Abe Lincoln on President’s Day (movie clip). And The New York Open tennis tournament makes a so-so debut.

We have had so much experience, way too much practice, reacting to school shootings in the United States.

We have had dozens and dozens of opportunities to show our outrage, to express our grief, to shake our fists in anger at the inaction of our Congress that’s been bought and paid for (My mother, bless her heart, really, really wants me to share this list of who the largest recipients of NRA money in Congress are, and since I think you should usually do what your mother says, here it is. No surprise, enormous frauds like Marco Rubio are on the list.)

But we’re seeing something over the last few few days that I don’t believe we’ve seen, at least not to this scale: Students at the scene, students who survived but saw their friends murdered, speaking out angrily, forcefully, about what has just happened to them.

The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., are speaking out, and they are angry, and they are fed up, as they should be.

They are making statements like this, and like this, and organizing a rally like this one coming up on March 24.

Watch the press conference from Saturday featuring Stoneman student Emma Gonzalez, who is as poised and mature as many adults would love to be, speaking with passion and conviction and pure, furious anger, about the need for change.

I have to be honest: This gives me hope. I’ve become so cynical that anything will change, no matter how many shootings have gone on. Our politicians are too bought and paid for by the NRA.

I mean, Jesus H. Christ, if the slaughter of elementary school children in 2012 in Newtown didn’t lead to massive change, what ever will????

But this might be something new. This isn’t the parents of victims speaking out, or political activists, or community members, or grandstanding members of Congress.

These are the ACTUAL victims, the students who were terrorized because one of their former classmates was able to legally buy a semi-automatic weapon and kill 17 people in their school. The school where they took biology tests, goofed off during recess, and practiced volleyball. A school, where some people think, insanely, that we should arm teachers with guns, like teachers aren’t overburdened enough, and given enough responsibility, that now we should have them be marksmen.

Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg and the rest are doing something we haven’t seen before. Maybe, just maybe, things could finally be different.

**Next up, it’s President’s Day, which has me thinking about some of our most legendary Oval Office-holders, and Abraham Lincoln.

And this speech, from the sensational movie “Lincoln” a few years ago, that is still so moving and beautiful.

**Finally today, a brand-new pro tennis tournament has come to my ‘hood, and I was super-excited for it.

After 40 years of holding a lower-tier tournament in Memphis, Tenn., the ATP Tour moved its early-February indoor men’s event to Long Island for this year, and it just wrapped up on Sunday at the new Nassau Coliseum (which is way, way, way, WAY nicer than the old Coliseum, a dump that saw some great hockey and lots of upset fans in the super-crowded hallways and dark upper seats).

I went to two sessions last week, and my review is mixed.

First, the good: The tennis was excellent; the new tournament attracted a pretty good field, with Top 20 players like Kevin Anderson, Kei Nishikori, Sam Querrey, and some up-and-coming Americans. The new Nassau Coliseum, with the top sections tarped off for tennis, felt like a small, intimate arena, and the fans there seemed to really get into the match.

Now the bad: There were very few fans at the matches all week; on Tuesday I swear the players heard the conversations my Dad and I were having during the points. Saturday’s semifinal day session was a little more crowded, but still, we’re talking a few hundred people at most.

New events are hard to get off the ground, mid-February is a tough time to get people out, both of those things are true. But the ticket prices were the biggest problem: They were way, way, way too high. Seventy bucks for a day-session ticket during the week, and $100 for good seats for the semis. No way most people, or casual tennis fans, are going to spend that much.

I know they’ve got to make enough money to cover the expenses, but man, those prices were nuts, even for NY.

I love having a tournament so close by, and of course as a freelance writer I love having opportunities to make a little dough in early February (I wrote two stories on the tournament). But for the New York Open to succeed, they’ve got to get more people in the building to see how great live pro tennis is.

And with these prices, that’s going to be very very hard to do.