BRONX, NY – “All the kids they hold a grudge. You fail them and they won’t forget it.” So went the lyrics to the 1998 song, “All the Kids Are Right” by the band Local H. Twenty years later, these words started ringing through my head as I watched a whole bunch of tough-as-nails kids from Florida respond to having their school turned into a mass-murder nightmare by going toe-to-toe with the seemingly impenetrable NRA and the batsh!t crazy lack of sensible gun laws. It’s a losing fight, really. If Presidents like Obama, billionaires like Bloomberg, and countless innocents slaughtered can’t make a dent, what can a bunch of pissed-off high school students possibly do?
Wait, is this post even about sports? Of course it is! As any proud supporter of the Second Amendment will be quick to tell you, guns (when not being employed for round-the-clock protection) are primarily used in the “sport” of hunting. And it’s not just your garden-variety game like deer and pheasant and other things people might actually eat. Why, the President’s two own moron sons like to shoot at just about anything, no matter how magnificent or endangered. Plus, sports is filled with gun terminology like “shotgun formation,” “bullet passes,” “run and shoot offense,” “taking shots,” “working out of the pistol” and countless others. There’s even shooting in the Olympics. So, let’s not question motives here. Now, where was I?
Gamers. These days the term “gamers” usually refers to guys that live in their parents’ basements and play video games all day. But in the world of sports, and the world in general, a “gamer” is someone who can handle just about any situation, no matter the pressure, and even thrive under those white-hot lights. These Parkland students are gamers. They’ve already been through the horrors of a school shooting, so internet trolls and Russian bots don’t stand a chance against them. They are all blackbelts in social media, which is why it has been so much fun watching them roundhouse kick clowns like Alex Jones, James Woods, and others aside like faceless henchmen in a Bruce Lee movie. They’re humans and will undoubtedly make their fair share of mistakes, but in this moment they are composed, well-spoken, and laser-focused well beyond their years.
Room for One More Miracle. Am I ham-fistedly shoe-horning a bunch of sports references into a piece about young people fighting for stronger gun regulations? You bet your ass I am! But, even as some pundits are already saying that they’ve lost, I really think they haven’t. This is the time and place for these kids. It’s their moment. I’ve always said that we’d never see another sports upset like the 1980’s Winter Olympics US Men’s Ice Hockey “Miracle on Ice.” I stand by that statement. But if this scrappy bunch of high school students from Parkland, FL (and thousands more like them) are somehow able to stare down the NRA and the politicians that they own, and move the needle even a little bit when it comes to gun laws, then I am calling this an even bigger miracle. And I’m pulling for it like you wouldn’t believe.
Thanks for putting up with this today. While I understand that I have a role to play here as this site’s resident cane-shaking sports curmudgeon, that doesn’t mean I can’t take a timeout to point out something amazing happening in a completely different arena. You may not agree with what I’ve said here, or what these young people are fighting for, but I’ll circle back to that Local H song and just say: “You’re all wrong and all the kids are right.“