Reporting Monique Griego
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s been nearly a month since 26 people were killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Now, some local athletes are helping children cope.
Monique Griego explains what Loyola’s national champion lacrosse team is doing.
The players wanted to do something nice for the kids, so they traveled to Newtown and used lacrosse to lift their spirits.
The images and details were horrific: 26 people, including 20 children, were killed.
“I was just devastated by the news, and I could only imagine how they felt up in Newtown,” said Jason Crane, Loyola lacrosse player.
Struck by the tragedy, Crane asked his teammates if they’d be interested in traveling to Newtown to put on lacrosse clinics for the kids.
Player T.J. Harris and a dozen others jumped on board.
“I have young siblings myself and you know, if anything like that ever happened to them, I know it would be devastating,” said Harris.
Last week, the team, with the help of the Newtown Lacrosse Association, spent the day teaching lacrosse to more than 100 kids, including some who were inside Sandy Hook Elementary when the rampage happened.
“It was really tough seeing like the second-graders, how little and just innocent they were and knowing that the kids were even younger than them,” said Crane.
And while sadness still hovers over the town, even if just for a short time, the players believe these kids forgot about their troubles.
“Probably isn’t, there isn’t a day that goes by where they don’t think about what happened in their town,” said Harris.
Harris’ bond with the students was so strong he asked some of them to autograph his game stick as a permanent reminder.
“Whenever there’s a time during a game when I’m struggling and I need a little bit of support, I know I can look to at these names and think of strength those kids have,” said Harris.
The team was also given a Newtown lacrosse jersey with the retired number 26 in honor of the victims.
“We’re going to frame it and keep it in our locker room for the rest of, well forever,” said Harris.
The coach the players met at Newtown told them that last week was the happiest he had seen these kids in a very long time.
The players plan to make a return trip to Newtown in the future.