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Defending national champs Loyola hold lacrosse clinic for Newtown

Posted on 03 January 2013 by WNST Staff

NEWTOWN, Conn. – Fourteen members of the 2012 NCAA Champion Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse team took time from their holiday break today to travel to Newtown, Conn., to lead a lacrosse clinic for youth in the town that was forever changed last month by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The trip, which was student-athlete organized, was the idea of freshman Jason Crane (Pasadena, Md./Chesapeake-AA High School).

Players departed Maryland on Thursday morning and picked up teammates on the trip to Connecticut. Others who live in the New England region met the team in Newtown.

Crane reached out to Jim Wallace, the Coach Training Coordinator for the Newtown Lacrosse Association, and Wallace invited the Greyhounds to lead today’s clinic.

“Obviously, we knew the town was hurting, and I found Jim’s e-mail address, and I asked if there was anything we could do,” Crane said. “He said it would be great if we could do the clinic and talk to the kids.

“When we got here today, Jim talked to us for a while, and he told us how many of (the clinic’s) kids were in the school at the time of the shooting. He said the town has been very quiet, and there is a lot of sadness. The kids are dealing with things that no elementary or middle school kid should have to deal with. He talked about how our presence helps the kids out in ways that we can’t even imagine.”

Today’s clinic drew more than 100 Newtown youth players, ranging from third through eighth grades, despite the fact that Crane and the Greyhound put their plans together in less than a week.

“As soon as I got (Crane’s) e-mail, I texted him and said I was in,” junior Brian Schultz said. “It has been a moving experience. We are trying to do anything we can just to raise spirits a little bit. In Maryland, you can’t really gauge what it’s been like here, but we’ve heard some really intense stories from Jim and others.”

At the clinic, the Greyhounds taught lacrosse skills and team play, as well as interacted with the kids on the field.

“Hopefully, we can influence them positively,” Crane said.

Loyola opens its season on Saturday, February 16, at the University of Delaware, and the Greyhounds open their home schedule on Saturday, February 23, with a NCAA Championship Game rematch against the University of Maryland.

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Ravens players react to Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy

Posted on 14 December 2012 by Luke Jones

As we all try to process the unthinkable tragedy that took place in Newtown, Conn. on Friday that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the news devastated me not only as a person but as a former educator.

Taking great pride in my five years as a fifth grade teacher, I struggle to find words to respond to such a heinous act. When I was teaching, we would conduct lockdown drills several times a year and I would always have at least a few students — older than the ones at Sandy Hook, mind you — who would grow uneasy, even though they were fully aware that we were only conducting a drill. As we gathered in a corner of the room with the classroom door locked and the lights off, I would always reassure my kids by saying there was a 99.9 percent chance that we’d never need to do this because of a dangerous situation, but we needed to be prepared just in case.

The thought of that 0.1-percent scenario actually playing out breaks my heart as I found myself thinking about the hundreds of students I worked with over the years. Though not a parent myself, I can only pray I’ll never have to experience the pain the parents and families directly affected in Newtown are feeling right now.

We all have memories of our days in school with some of our experiences more positive than others, but it’s my hope that we felt safe in the classroom. Sadly, with school shootings becoming more rampant in recent years, this feeling is crumbling when such monstrosities can even be carried out against a kindergarten class.

Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, brother, sister, cousin, godparent, neighbor, or friend of a young child, the mere thought of kindergartners going to school in the morning and never coming home again is too much to take. As for the teachers and staff members who did everything in their power — even losing their lives in some cases — to try to protect innocent children, their efforts will not go unappreciated in my eyes.

I’m sure I speak for everyone in the WNST.net circle in saying our thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted.

With the details of the tragedy just beginning to unfold as the media met with Ravens players early Friday afternoon, it was too soon to receive any direct reaction. However, numerous players — some of them having children of a similar age to the victims — have commented on the massacre using social media. Here is a sampling:

(Editor’s note: These messages were collected via players’ verified accounts on social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. Their words, punctuation, and sentence structures are unedited with the acknowledgement of errors being present.)

Ray Lewis: “We must wake up, the time is now evil is now attacking our kids. Lord please show us another way, why so much silence when so much pain exists everyday. We must come together, lets not let this be just another Tragedy. The only way to do it is together, if it takes a village to raise 1 child then it’s gonna take everything we have to save our children. Lets start having real conversation to make our world a better place. Lord my Prayer today is please help thru this Storm. Me and my family will be Praying for the entire Sandy Hook Elementary School, you’re not alone.”

Ray Rice: “My prayers go out to all the families in Connecticut who lost a loved one today.”

Torrey Smith: “Our world is crazy..Prayers up for those effected by the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. People who do crazy things like this shooting always take the easy way out”

Jameel McClain: “Crazy world..stop the violence!!”

Michael Oher: “My heart goes out to the families involved in this devastating tragedy…My thoughts and prayers are with you. May God be with us all.”

Tandon Doss: “Man what’s wrong w the world …I don’t understand how u can take someone else’s life .. But prayers up to all involved”

Brendon Ayanbadejo: “As a father of 2, 1 in elementary school I will not stop voicing safety for my family and fellow citizens”

Bryan Hall: “My heart and prayers go out to all families of this horrific event that happened in Connecticut….”


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