Simeon-Morgan Park: Good kids, bad city

Simeon-Morgan Park: Good kids, bad city
January 18, 2013, 7:12 pm

There are many reasons to be disappointed at the outcome of Wednesday night's Public League showdown between Simeon and Morgan Park that have nothing to do with the game. The biggest disappointment was the loss of yet another young life in a senseless act of gun violence that continues to plague the city and makes Chicago the topic of national conversation.
17-year-old Tyrone Lawson didn't deserve to die over the outcome of a basketball game.
No one can say for certain that the Morgan Park student -- who, like the students at both schools, are really good kids -- wouldnt have still been shot and killed had the post-game skirmish between players on the two teams not broken out on the court.
But there is no question the incident was the catalyst that led to someone pulling a gun and forever changing the lives of all families involved both of the alleged perpetrators and of the victim.
Violence at games between Simeon and Morgan Park is not unusual. In September, one person was stabbed after a fight broke out in the stands during a football game between the two schools. The fact that each is considered a powerhouse in the city only heightens the rivalry and, subsequently, the animosity between students and supporters of each.
But that's still no excuse for what happened. Its also worth noting that not everyone in attendance at Chicago State on Wednesday night was a Wolverine or Mustang supporter. Some were just there to watch a competitive high school basketball game between two respected programs.
Some of the spectators were adults, some were students at other schools, others were small children, like my own 7-year-old son who was so shaken by what he saw and after learning that someone had gotten killed, said that he never wanted to go to another high school basketball game again.
As a parent, it's difficult for me to explain that what happened was the exception, not the rule, but it speaks to how traumatic something like this can be, even to those not directly affected.
17-year-old Tyrone Lawson was his mother's only child. If that's not enough to break your heart then perhaps maybe the news that his mother was planning to get married on Feb. 26, on what would have been her son's 18th birthday. Or maybe the fact that Lawson will never have an opportunity to go to his high school prom, walk across the stage at graduation, or go on to fulfill his life's purpose because someone made a decision that his life was essentially worthless and had no purpose.
Again, there are so many reasons to be disappointed at the events that occurred on Wednesday night, especially when you consider that as a sportswriter charged with the task of covering this event and bringing the details of it to the masses, out of all the words youve read thus far, not one paragraph or sentence has anything to do with what transpired on the court prior to the final buzzer sounding.
Lost in all of this will be the fact that two Chicago Public League titans squared off and put on a great show for those who love prep sports.
The final score no longer matters.
Who played well doesnt matter.
The only thing that matters is that a young man tragically lost his life over something stupid and our reputation as a city has taken yet another hit. That reflects on all of us who live here, but as someone who was born, raised and proud to say that Im from Chicago, it pains me to say that I am truly embarrassed to be a native Chicagoan right now, a city that I consider to be the greatest in all the world.
May you rest in peace, Tyrone, and hopefully your life will not have been lost in vain.