July 21, 2012

Sports Take a Back Seat to a Real-Life Tragedy

By - Kris Fletcher

By now pretty much everyone is aware of what went down in Aurora, Colorado early Friday morning. Multiple deaths. Countless victims. An absolutely senseless crime.

One that's hit close to home, even at 1,200 miles away.

I'm fortunate enough to be able to say that I had the privilege of interacting with Jessica Ghawi (AKA Jessica Redfield) through Twitter on multiple occasions over the course of the last year or so.

Photo from: cnn.com
As is the case in so many other instances in life, our initial interaction was simply by chance. I noticed a Tweet she had posted about the Colorado Avalanche, said something in response to it, and the convo went from there.

There were a few other times where we talked hockey. A conversation about the Vancouver Canucks comes to mind, and also one about my home town Nashville Predators. Nothing of particular importance, just your average everyday chit-chat type of thing between two sports enthusiasts.

Now, I'm not going to say that I knew she was destined for great things or anything, because for one, we only interacted a handful of times, and two, that type of thing seems so cliché to say after someone is gone. Still, I was certainly impressed with both her knowledge of the sport and the passion in which she used to present it.

Admirable qualities that left an indelible mark on me.

Following the terrible events that transpired early yesterday morning, so many other things about Jessica have come to light. How she had taken her grandmother's maiden name (Redfield) because, "she had always wanted to be a journalist, but never got the chance." How just last month, she had cheated death at the Eaton Centre mall shooting in Toronto, and wrote openly in her blog about how the events of that day had forever changed her.

Even her last Tweet:


To think that less than 45 minutes after that, she was dead, is still almost incomprehensible to me.

People always want closure. They always want there to be a reason for everything. I'm of the belief that in a lot of cases, you get neither. You never get over some things, and sometimes, shit just happens. As bad as that may sound, it is what it is. There's not always a reason or an explanation for everything.


So was the case for the victims in that movie theatre Friday.

And that's what's bothering me the most.

None of those people deserved to meet their demise the way they did, but it still happened all the same. Twelve individuals -- gone. No real reason behind it. No suitable explanation for it.

It just happened.

In the end, if any good whatsoever can come from this tragedy, Jessica herself already knew what it was. In the second-to-last paragraph of her last blog post, she wrote:

"I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given."

Thank you for reminding me of that, Jessica.

Again, you left an indelible mark on me.


  1. Well said Fletch.

  2. Really moving post Kris. Really puts in perspective how fragile life is. My prayers go out to the families of the victims.

  3. brought tears to my eyes

  4. My thoughts are with the victims and their families. Just a senseless act. Pure unadulterated evil.

  5. Such a cowardly act. So many crazy people out there. Makes you just want to stay at home and lock your doors.

  6. Great post Kris.

  7. Still haven't completely decided what I think of this site yet. On one hand, well written posts such as this one keep me coming back. But on the other, racist laced trash like the previous post make me want to stay away. I'm torn.

  8. Thanks for reading it and taking the time to leave a comment everyone.