"You can step away from it. It does not mean that you care less."
It was about that time that I signed off Facebook for the holidays. The barrage of a little information and a lot more opinion was more than my senses could take. After all, I have a job to do. We all have things to do.
Determining what those things are is the challenge in times like this.
As for me, I work almost exclusively with high school students. Some of them I get to know as early as when they're 13 years old. By the time they graduate, I've been able to know some of them pretty well. In a few cases, that has led to friendships and working relationships that last after those student-athletes complete the transition into adulthood.
I've seen former players have children of their own, get married, rise in their professions and move into settled family lives. Sometimes, this transition is especially fascinating to watch, because as a writer who gets to know high school students, I have seen more people follow this course than I have seen things go sour.
This isn't the time for Pollyannaism, however. There are real issues facing us as Americans, parents, citizens and guardians of our nation's youth that need addressed sensibly. For me, the best thing to do is to, essentially, double down.
The effort to highlight the successes and accomplishments of our area youth that is the hallmark of high school sports coverage? Improve it. The amount of myself that I invest in building rapports with players and coaches to better understand what is going on around me? Give more.
I don't believe that sports can save the world from itself. I do believe, however, that sports provides enough of a respite from the terrors the world poses to us that we can get our heads right for when we return to the grind in attempt to figure out how to deal with those terrors.
Tell your family you love them today and every day, and have a Merry Christmas.