PHOENIX — This spot in the Sports section is usually reserved for tidbits and blurbs about the Utah Jazz.
On a day like today, writing about that seems so trivial.
I found out about the shooting tragedy in Newtown, Conn., this morning while sitting in the pressroom at the U.S. Airways Center with Jazz broadcaster David Locke and Tribune writer Bill Oram.
We were waiting for the Jazz shootaround to end and for our opportunity to interview the team to begin when our hearts dropped. Like millions, we were shocked and saddened to find out that so many people, so many children, had been senselessly killed.
While absorbing the emotional pain and processing the unthinkable, I quietly said, "I have a kindergartner."
As my Twitter feed became deluged with news updates and reactions, I tweeted the one thing that resonated in my mind and heart while I found myself mourning 650 miles away from my family and 2,500 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School:
"I just want to go home and hug my children."
I appreciated Locke's humorous remark about how he and Oram were the only ones within hugging distance. I probably should've hugged them.
Moments later, the three of us were doing our jobs, talking to coach Tyrone Corbin about the Jazz's improvement and the Suns. A conversation with the team's massage therapist, Doug Birrell, led to him suggesting that I do anything but watch TV in afternoon downtime.
He was hoping to help protect me from feeling more empathetic pain and from missing my family even more.
I couldn't help but watch for updates in my hotel room. Aside from the deaths of my dad in 2003 and our family dog this past summer, this hurt my heart more than anything has since 9/11.
Sometimes I wonder if my travel-intensive job is good for my four kids because their dad is everywhere the Jazz are during the NBA season when they might need me.
On Friday, hundreds of miles separated us when I needed them.
Thankfully, the emotional day included long-distance phone calls with my children — at least the ones who can speak (our 1-month-old boy only eats, sleeps and cries).
Aidan, our crazy 3-year-old, thought it was neat that I was in "Arizoneea."
Ethan was happy to report he'd eaten his first three gingerbread cookies ever with his second-grade class. He was doing chores and politely asked if we could end our conversation so he could go play with a friend.
Sydney, our only girl, did a reindeer "Hokey Pokey" with her kindergarten class at school in the morning. She sang part of it to me. Sweetest song ever.
Perhaps this Jazz notebook-turned-journal entry seems out of place or inappropriately self-indulgent, but putting my thoughts down has been therapeutic.
I'll still do my usual game story, but writing tidbits and blurbs about the Jazz just didn't feel right on a day like today.2 comments on this story
Hopefully, I'll feel back up to it by Saturday night — after I've returned home and hugged my kids.
I can't imagine the heartbreak of the families in Connecticut who would give everything in the world to be able to do that with their fallen loved ones again.