Perspective

When your job brings you in regular contact with tragedy on a mass scale (as it does when you work in a newsroom) the rush & tumble of getting the news out gets in the way of stopping to feel the personal impact of these events. As I’m certain will happen with the Napa/Sonoma fire situation, I am now reading personal stories out of Las Vegas.

This from the NY Times’ Reporter’s Notebook hit me hard.

I checked out of that Mandalay Bay suite on Saturday morning, excused from reporting duties, and flew home in the hopes of making my daughter’s soccer game. I found the red rose from the vigil, starting to fade and wilt, in a vase on the kitchen counter. When we got to the game, we and the other parents were somewhat surprised to see Stacee’s husband and extended family there, too. Warming up with the girls was No. 8, with her long ponytail.

We all wore orange ribbons, attached by safety pins, including the girls on both teams. The Novato team wore orange armbands with the initials “S.E.” Before kickoff, both squads came across the field to the spectator side and lined up in straight lines. Our team’s coach asked the parents to stand for 30 seconds of silence. And then two of the league’s better teams played a rather meaningless soccer game, only this one felt about as meaningful as anything I’ve ever watched.

And it was late in the second half when the ball suddenly swung from one end to the other, and Stacee’s daughter gave chase through three retreating opponents and beat them all to the ball. And in one blink-and-you-missed-it moment, she booted the ball into the corner of the net for what held on as the winning goal.

Her teammates chased her and swarmed her, and they and she looked as free and happy as girls can be on a sunny fall Saturday afternoon with their friends. The parents jumped and cheered as loudly as I’ve heard parents cheer at a kids’ soccer game. Behind my sunglasses, I was bawling. It was the first time I’d cried all week.

The Girl in the No. 8 Jersey