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T.J. SIMERS

Fun and games isn't much fun on this day

Tragedy in Connecticut overshadows a Lakers victory. For some, sports will never be put in proper perspective.

December 14, 2012|T.J. Simers

WASHINGTON — It just feels odd, maybe everyone is just a bit off.

All day long the TV is on and there's the Connecticut horror; the night is dedicated to watching/caring about a meaningless basketball game.

Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni appears to be unusually down, or tired, Friday night before the Lakers play the woeful Wizards.

"You seem to have lost your good humor," I suggest.

"I don't think it's a very good day to have humor, to be honest with you," he says.

It is not a very good day.

But how are folks supposed to react when devastating reality collides with fun and games?

Are the Lakers and Wizards supposed to play like most of us feel? When will be it OK again to show a little humor?

Is it wrong to escape from the feeling of just overwhelming sadness? Billed as fun, isn't it still?

One of the media members tells us that ESPN sent out an email earlier in the day to everyone in the company advising them not to tweet the rest of the day about sports.

Did they cancel "Around the Horn" as well?

I'm told ESPN radio back in Los Angeles dropped its sports talk so that Max Kellerman and Steve Mason could focus on Connecticut. I can't imagine anyone complained about less sports talk.

Kellerman and Mason reached out to their ESPN contacts in Bristol because Bristol is only 20 miles away from Newtown, so Bristol would know. Twenty miles or two thousand, isn't it all the same, Newtown hitting everyone close to home?

I only have to pull out my Blackberry and look at the wallpaper, the three cutest grandkids in the world, and feel for those parents who said goodbye to their children as they went to school.

I can't imagine, do not want to imagine.

But how does anyone hold it together after seeing a picture of a young girl's mouth wide open in terror as she's led from Sandy Hook Elementary with her classmates.

And she's one of the lucky ones.

Here they are throwing T-shirts to the crowd, the look on these kids' faces what every parent would hope for from their children. Is it out of place to be so happy?

I hear people all day talking on TV about wanting to go home and hug their kids. Who needs to be prodded so?

I'm with the Lakers this week and so is my daughter. She's like 85 now, but still my kid, and I'm lucky to have a kid who doesn't mind spending time with Dad. Or doesn't mind letting him pay for everything.

Already so many wonderful memories. And bills. Only $25 to hug her and have a picture taken in front of the tree in Rockefeller Center.

When I hear the president talking about children, ages 5 to 10 and what they will miss later in life, he's not the only one overwhelmed.

But what happens next? They don't cancel the basketball game. People are on their feet clapping like crazy for Cartier Martin as he completes a three-point play for the Wizards.

Where do sports fit into life on a day like this?

The talk will surely shift to how things have now been put into proper perspective. Why does it take the world going terribly wrong to make the case for keeping things in proper perspective?

Who thinks people will keep sports in proper perspective?

Isn't it almost a daily conflict, almost everything more important than sports? And yet, try telling that to the folks who live and die with their favorite teams, and how out of place are those words now?

We write about luck in sports; how about in life?

The daughter and I visited New York a summer or so before the World Trade Center attack. We were on the first elevator of the day to the top to view the city.

How does it work that others picked 9/11 to take their tour? I think about that a lot.

Some people are now going to spend the rest of their lives wondering why their child was so unlucky to be in class that day.

Tonight my job is to ask Kobe if he's thrilled now that the Lakers are on a one-game winning streak.

It seems so incongruous. Or is it?

Maybe someone will smile for just a second reading how Kobe shows good cheer and might even let himself go to think about a two-game winning streak.

Isn't that why we're all here tonight? It's as good an answer as I have.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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