The first game in a Division I boys basketball game was played last night—an important game because the winner advances in the playoffs. At the end of the evening, there was one “winner” and one “loser”—right?
Not exactly. This game was between the Chardon Hilltoppers and the Madison Blue Streaks, and it was the first sports event since the school shootings in Chardon.
The crowd came wearing black and red ribbons and black and red clothing—Chardon’s school colors—no matter which team they came to support.
When it was time to warm up, the Madison team ran onto the court wearing black shirts with CHARDON emblazoned across their chests. When they changed into their uniforms for the game, they wore red socks with their usual blue and white uniforms. Their actions sent a clear message of compassion and empathy.
This was not the only thoughtful action coming from students. In the days following the shooting, Facebook carried photos from many other schools; masses of students posed for pictures while wearing Chardon’s red and black colors. “One heart,” many said.
At Westlake High School, the Plain Dealer reported, students created and signed a banner that read, “Dear Chardon HS, We are thinking of you. Love, Westlake HS.” The banner was delivered to Chardon High School on March 1, in time to be seen by students as they returned to school.
The students’ lesson is obvious, if we’re paying attention. The things that really matter are not any team’s wins and losses, whether it’s sports teams, political teams, or even religious ones. We are all part of one humanity, and we can look out for each other. As adults, we try to set an example for our children to follow. In this case, they are setting one for us.
Author’s note: I taught in the Chardon community for many years, giving piano and flute lessons to Chardon kids, conducting flute choirs, helping to coach the middle school sound-of-music Science Olympiad team, and occasionally playing flute on the Chardon Music Shop float for the Maple Festival Parade. I don’t personally know the families that experienced this tragedy, but I feel very connected to the community, and my heart goes out to them.