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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Huskies still reeling from tragic event in Newtown

The tragic events in Newtown on Friday certainly resonated in all corners of the state but for UConn seniors Heather Buck and Kelly Faris the scene where 20 school children and six faculty members lost their lives.

It was just two years ago when they were involved in a basketball clinic at the Newtown Youth Academy just about three miles from the scene of the carnage.

When they began to understand the scope of the situation both Buck and Faris texted Newtown NYA marketing director Stacy O'Donnell to how she was doing and to see if her son was enrolled at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

"It is the kind of thing that you see on TV, people talk about in an orientation but you never think it will actually happen, maybe that happened somewhere else but it is never going to happen here," Buck said. "The fact that happened here in Connecticut, it is a very peaceful place here so to think about that ..."

Faris, who said that working with young kids, was deeply impacted when she heard that 20 children lost their lives in the shooting.

"It is one of things that is hard to put into words," Faris said. "It is heartbreaking, it really is even for somebody who hasn't been involved and wasn't affected by it we are still affected because of how. It is pretty sickening to think about the things that happen in this world, if something like that could happen there is not much we can do right now.

"I had heard about it before practice but I did not know to what extent things had taken place. After practice was really when I was told about what had happened. It ruined my day, it ruined my week and it
was one of those things that I went back and that was all I could think about. All I could picture in my head is all of those kids faces. That is what I have a passion for is little kids, that is who I want to
work with and to hear something like that is really devastating."

UConn coach Geno Auriemma and his staff were in the basketball offices when it began to become apparent that this was going to be one of the worst school shootings in history. In retrospect Auriemma admitted that going through with the practice might not have been the best decision. He said he was so upset about the events that he took out his anger on his players who were not having a productive practice. He later took to twitter to apologize to them for the way he acted.

His players did not think he was that out of control nor where they surprised when he pledged the first $80,000 in a scholarship fund started for the victims and their families.

Even as we are days removed from the shooting, the impact is still being felt by the Huskies.

"It is really heartbreaking," UConn sophomore Kiah Stokes said . "When I first turned on the news they said only one person died and I said I hope that is the end of it. You get to practice and it is over 20 and I can't even imagine. That night my mom and dad called me, we just want to say we love you and if something ever happens we don't know what we'd do without you. It  hits home because you never know what could happen and for it to happen to elementary (school) students, it is just ridiculous and I pray for those families that were affected and wish the best for all of them."

The players said they'd like to do something like hold a clinic in Newtown but it is still too early to do that. In the meantime they will wear green patches with the letters "S" and "H" for tomorrow's game against Oakland. They will also be part of a 26-second moment of silence featuring the 11 players and 15 others comprised of the cheerleading squad, dance team and band. A children's choir from Redeemer Hill Church in Hartford will also be performing.

"There are 20 parents who don't have their child anymore and how can anything that you do make that better but no one can understand that and what they are going through," Buck said. "Everybody understands that it is hard. You want to find something 'maybe something I can do can help them even a little bit even if it is just a little bit to make things a little better.

"There is going to be a time where it is appropriate for us to do something when that times comes and the coaches will be very aware of the situation moving forward and they will be very in tune with what is going one and how we can contribute."


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