I was planning on writing something today, probably about NaNoWriMo and having finished writing The Richard Brautigan Club. I probably would have mentioned that I’m not doing any writing this weekend, needing a break, also needing to read through Kelly Tremane, the other NaNo project that is about a third done. That’s what I was going to write about, until my daughter, a news hound like her mother, told me a Kansas City Chiefs player killed himself at Arrowhead Stadium this morning.
I’m not a Chiefs fan, but I love football. Immediately I went to my computer; it had occurred at 8.10 a.m. local (Central) time, just a few hours ago for us on the West Coast. No name was mentioned in the lead-off article on Google News, but it only took a few clicks to learn his name, and what had precipitated this awful incident. The young man allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend. Then he drove the short distance to Arrowhead Stadium and ended his life.
As I read, my heart sank, my mood plummeted. Last night my husband, daughter, and I went to dinner to celebrate my noveling achievement and the hubby’s work endeavors. Daughter is over her bad tummy, it was a lovely evening. I watched Stanford and UCLA battle it out for the Pac-12 Rose Bowl spot. Then I went to bed, feeling… relieved. I still have a novel to finish, but I would think about that on Monday.
Today is gray, cool, not wet but heaviness prevails in the air, in my heart. Of course there is more to this story, between the young man and his partner and their families, and the sports community. Who am I to this situation? Just an onlooker of sorts, a football fan, also a human being. Supposedly an infant has been left an orphan. The young woman’s mother made the call to police, that her daughter’s on-again, off-again boyfriend had shot her multiple times. These are numbing, horrific facts. As a writer, I conjure plenty of drama and tension, one of the reasons I had to set Kelly Tremane aside, a story about domestic violence. But fiction is malleable. This scenario is real.
These were real people and their loved ones are in real pain. A baby girl will grow up without her parents, teammates and the coaches who worked with this young man are facing loss and questions. I don’t mean to go overboard; death is everywhere. But such empty, meaningless tragedy gnaws at my guts. Sport is to lift spirits, celebrate athleticism. Football is often violent, also graceful and intelligent. Tomorrow’s games will proceed, although it hasn’t yet been determined if the Chiefs will play at home against the Carolina Panthers, who at last report were still scheduled to fly to Kansas City this morning.
It’s the first of December, the day after NaNo. Yes, I finished a book, but somehow it doesn’t feel the same. Come Monday, I’m sure this gloom will have faded. For now, my thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those dead.