We had to explain it in some way to all but the youngest kids. Anyone who glimpsed the front page of a newspaper or, God forbid, saw the footage of the killer.
My husband and I talked about it for two days on our radio show. We do a comedy show but it wasn’t the right week for comedy.
After a week of feeling weepy, numb, angry, imagining our own kids as students at Virginia Tech, the sun came out, the cherry blossoms and forsythia bloomed, and Little League opened on schedule.
Our village league celebrated opening day on Saturday, starting with the traditional parade of teams. The kids lined up in front of the high school and donned their new jerseys and caps that would never again be as clean as they were at that moment. Not even one hour later, as I saw one boy clinging to his brother’s leg and being dragged across the ball field on his stomach, causing mothers to cringe at the thought of grass stains on those white baseball pants.
The children picked up vinyl banners with the names of construction companies, pizza parlors, and local mortgage firms and marched down the hill to the main field.
Residents and business owners came out into the spring sunshine to clap and cheer for the players, boys and girls from five to thirteen years old.
“Go Skyview Nursing Home!”
“Creative Copy, win, win!”
“Sav Mor Pharmacy, yea team!”
The kids filed onto the field with moms and dads and coaches and grandparents and strollers with siblings and sat in a ring around the bases.
The head of Little League stood at home plate and introduced the teams, thanked the coaches, supporters, gave out some trophies to last season’s tournament players. A veteran manager and coach threw out the first pitch. Then we all turned toward the flag. A young girl sang the national anthem, high and sweet.
We all clapped. Someone yelled, “Play ball!”
We moved off the field and made way for two teams of ten- and elevn-year-olds to play the first game.
People drifted over to the bleachers to cheer and watch, to comment on how the kids grew over the summer, to see who has gained some power. We told the players they were swinging well even when they missed and we rooted for the pitcher after he let up a three run homer and lost a little confidence.
It was a perfect day.
Our baby got hold of his sister’s new jersey and put it on. It was down to his ankles. She gave him her visor and he ran around a tiny mascot caught up in the excitement.
We celebrated our families in spite of what happened last week. Maybe because of it.
— Susan Konig is the author of Why Animals Sleep So Close to the Road (and other lies I tell my children) She co-hosts Speak Now with Dave and Susan Konig on the Catholic Channel, Sirius 159.