I think about it. I think about it every time I put my daughter in a van, or on a bus, to travel with the latest sports team to have discovered her God-given talent and highly committed work ethic. I think about it when the roads are icy, and the mountain passes are iffy. I think about it.
I think about the children of friends, who play differing sports for differing teams, and their numbers are too many to track. So when I hear about Humboldt, the first thing I want to do is call my daughter to ensure that this is not our friends' team. I hear about it late at night, and I am far from home, and so I don't call. Instead, I watch on this hotel room TV. And I cry for these children I have never met and will never know, for their mothers, their fathers, their brothers and sisters and grandparents, and their school mates, the bosses of their part-time jobs.
I cry for the survivors.
In the morning, when she confirms that these boys were not 'our' boys, I say to my daughter, "You don't really need to play sports, do you?" Two more away tournaments and her season is done. "We could keep you home." She laughs at me. I think we both know part of me is not joking.
For, these boys are our boys. These boys are the boys of every athlete's parent. And Humboldt, the heart of every parent of an athlete is with you tonight.
I think about it. I think about it throughout the morning of this conference I have been looking forward to attending for months. And I think that what I now most want is to go home, and hug my babies.