It has been one week since the tragic events of Sandy Hook Elementary, an event that turned the entire country upside down.
Parents since then have hugged their children tighter and many around the country have been searching in all places to know how and why such a tragic event could take place.
Many teams - nationally and locally - have since honored the victims, their families and the town. Teams in the NFL held moments of silence in honor, players wore patches or stickers and NBA players stood with their children during pregame ceremonies.
Locally, many schools in the area held a moment of silence. At the Champion-John F. Kennedy basketball game, the elementary school choir sang "Silent Night" - a Christmas carol that will now remind many of this dark time so close to the holiday.
When tragedies like this happen - and far too many have happened in recent memory - people turn to sports, on any level, to get away from the "real world." People would rather focus on the issue of the Cleveland Browns' coaching situation or whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to make the playoffs, rather than watching the news and seeing the faces of those lost. It's a way to forget, even if for just a few minutes, about what's going on in the lives of the people in Newtown, Conn. - or any other place in the world that is struggling with what life has dealt them.
Events like this put things in perspective. It's human nature to lose focus on what's truly important in life. Unfortunately, it takes a tragedy like the one on Dec. 14 to refocus on what counts in life - especially when it comes to the world of sports.
Does it really matter that your child made four more baskets than another player? Does it matter that your child is starting, while another is trying their hardest but can't cross that bridge to getting more playing time? Does it matter that your child doesn't want to play sports, but would rather play the piano?
The answer is no. In the grand scheme of life it doesn't. It takes something like Sandy Hook to remind us that there are 20 parents in Newtown, Conn., who would give anything to have their child sit the bench -because that would mean their children are still with them.
In this day and age, youth and prep sports are becoming more cutthroat, and the stress on young athletes is greater than ever before. At any sporting event, phrases like "Did you hear that parent getting in their kids ear?" or "That parent got tossed because of remarks to a referee," are heard more than ever before.
While many times the parents mean well and are trying to push their athletes to be the best they can be, sometimes it can be taken over the line. And its events like the one at Sandy Hook that make those parents take a step back and just be thankful they have a child that is alive, healthy and can play a sport.
With Christmas two days away, remember what you have and the blessings that are in your life. If you're a parent, tell your athlete that you're proud of them, no matter what. Then tell to yourself, life is short, the moments come and go, and to cherish every moment of their lives. Even if they are sitting on the bench.