Easing The Pain
Sports Illustrated|November 19 - 26, 2018
Easing The Pain

Sports provide some relief to a California community under siege.

Michael Mck Night

LAST SATURDAY the marquee outside Oaks Christian School asked for thoughts and prayers for our thousand oaks community, without making clear which of the two local catastrophes it was referencing. Three nights earlier a gunman entered the Borderline Bar and Grill on Rolling Oaks Drive and killed 11 patrons and a Ventura County sheriff’s sergeant before taking his own life. Then, 15 hours later, the first flames of what would become known as the Woolsey Fire began charring a suburban hillside about 10 miles northeast of the town. As the blaze—which had rapidly spread across 85,000 acres—engulfed their tree-shrouded neighborhoods on Saturday, thousands of Thousand Oaks’s 130,000 residents grieving from the mass shooting were forced to flee their homes.

That same day Oaks Christian’s football team, undefeated and ranked No. 8 in the nation, was on a southbound bus, headed to its Southern Section Division I quarterfinal matchup at JSerra Catholic, in San Juan Capistrano. The game had been postponed a day due to the wildfires, a delay that allowed half the Lions’ players to help their families evacuate. Senior kicker Garth White described the team’s ride. “It was lot different vibe,” he told The Orange County Register. “Our minds were off of the game. Our minds were back at home.... We took a hard hit.”

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November 19 - 26, 2018