Feb. 26, 2008
The tragic event that occurred on February 14, 2008 will forever be etched in the lives, minds, and hearts of the NIU community. It's been very difficult for my teammates and I in the days following the tragedy that rocked the very core of our university. After hearing news of the act of terror that took place on our campus, Coach Owens gave the team five days to go home to be with our families and regroup mentality, emotionally, and spiritually from the incident.
For me those five days were a time to reflect, bask in the love and care of close family and friends, and rest physically. I felt the time off was good for me, and I returned this past Tuesday with a new perspective on life and a renewed spirit. The entire team came from their respective hometowns and we spent the rest of the week expressing how we felt about the tragedy, and also doing fun things that helped to channel our focus away from the melancholy and anger many of us were feeling following Valentine's Day.
Wednesday we enjoyed a delicious dinner at Eduardo's, and Thursday we were treated to lunch at Rosita's. Following lunch, we went to a very nice student-athlete dinner sponsored by the university. The dinner was permeated with good conversation, good food, and riveting speeches by President Dr. John Peters, Chief Grady, and a handful of others. Just when we thought the activities were over for the week, we were given the opportunity to go to the Bulls game along with the men's basketball team. We watched the game from a suite, and also got to witness a Bull's victory (go figure!).
Aside from the various activities we participated in last week, we also resumed practice Wednesday and it was refreshing just to be back with my teammates and playing basketball. It's been almost two weeks since our last game, but we feel prepared for the competition we will face in the coming days. We are ready to play with relentless vigor, in honor of those we lost, and also in appreciation of our own lives and the gifts and privilege we have to play the game we love.
To the families and friends of those whose promising lives were cut short, I offer my heartfelt prayers and condolences. To those who were injured and are still recovering from their injuries my thoughts and prayers are with you as well. The rest of our season is no longer our own, but a tribute to those who lost their lives on February 14, 2008, and also a dedication to our student body. Forward, Together Forward...