By Mark A. Hodgkin
Twitter - @Mark_Hodgkin
In the wake of several notable tragedies, sports have rightfully been put into their place of proper perspective. However, they have nonetheless played a small part of the healing process and acted as a beacon of awareness to important issues and causes.
Last Friday, the unthinkable events in Newtown, Connecticut have left a community - and country -grieving and searching for answers. This week, several members of the BIG EAST Conference have stepped up to honor not only the victims but those left behind.
The University of Connecticut, located less than an hour from Newtown, has assumed a leadership role in helping its state heal.
The men’s and women’s basketball programs will play with a green rectangular patch on their jerseys with the letters “SH” to honor Sandy Hook Elementary School. Coaches and support staff will wear a green ribbon.
But even more meaningful, the University has established The Sandy Hook School Memorial Scholarship Fund to cover college costs for any students who currently attend the elementary school, as well as siblings of those killed in the assault and dependents of teachers and other adults who also lost their lives, who are accepted to attend the University in the future.
“It is not easy to conceive of the most heartfelt and respectful way to respond in the wake of such a shattering event,” said UConn president Susan Herbst. “Yet Newtown is in our own state and many of our students and alumni have ties to those who are affected directly. The gift of higher education is a transformational one. We want the students of Sandy Hook to have the opportunity to study at a top public research university.”
To donate, please visit this link.
Providence men’s basketball donned green jerseys in Tuesday night’s game against Colgate to honor the tragedy. Green is the school color of Sandy Hook Elementary School and PC was able to secure the specially made jerseys from Nike just in time for the game. The jerseys will now be sent to Newtown as a tribute and memento.
Friar coach Ed Cooley said he came up with the idea while watching coverage of the aftermath this weekend.
"I can't thank Nike enough because we felt we had to do something to acknowledge what those people are going through in Connecticut,"Cooley told the Providence Journal. "I couldn't watch all this without being moved, like so many people. If we can show the people there that we're thinking of them, I hope we've helped."
In addition, the Friars blocked off 26 seats at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center with green ribbons and displayed a banner reading “Newtown, Connecticut: We Have You In Our Thoughts and Prayers”
The BIG EAST Conference office has asked all of its members to observe a moment of silence at upcoming men’s and women’s basketball games and many already have.