A reader sent an e-mail the other day, claiming that a story unnecessarily "glorified" the lives of two South Jersey high school athletes who jumped off bridges in apparent suicides that were 51/2 months apart.
Let's set the record straight: That was not my intention.
The intention was to bring attention to a troubling coincidence: Both teenagers were popular, gifted athletes and good students - and yet, despite their outward appearances, something was terribly wrong.
Students, athletes, teachers, adults, coaches - all of us, really - need to keep an open dialogue, need to look for signs that someone needs help.
Unfortunately, those signs are sometimes camouflaged.
Here's hoping, in the case of the two teenagers, that someone close to them can speak publicly about what they think went wrong. Their words just might save the life of another person who is going through a difficult period - even though, to the outside world, they seem to be well-adjusted and enjoying life.
Camden Catholic senior Anthony Trongone, The Inquirer's South Jersey wrestler of the year after going 40-2 and winning the 171-pound state title, still plans to attend Virginia Tech, his father, Tony, said after yesterday's shootings at the school that left at least 33 dead.
The elder Trongone called Virginia Tech's wrestling coach yesterday to make sure he was OK and "to see if there was anything I could do."
Trongone said yesterday's violence was "obviously a great concern to us . . . but it could have happened anywhere. But we're concerned; they had a shooting there in the beginning of the year and his grandmother called and said we couldn't send him there."
Added Trongone: "It's our hope that the school will take measures to prevent something like this from happening - if that's possible."
Anthony Trongone finished with 108 career victories.
University of Tennessee defensive lineman Turk McBride, a 6-foot-3, 274-pound Woodrow Wilson graduate, is anxiously awaiting the April 28-29 NFL draft. The Sporting News projects that McBride will be selected in the fifth round.
McBride played defensive tackle and end last season.
Jim Horner will join head coach Rick Brown's football coaching staff at Camden Catholic. "I'm going there because of my connection with Ricky," said Horner, a successful head coach at Haddon Heights, Cherokee and Haddonfield. Horner coached Brown at Cherokee.
Horner was a Holy Cross assistant last season.
Two of Woodbury's best female athletes - seniors Shannon Gantt and Michelle Doran - have signed letters of intent with Division I colleges, athletic director Grant Shivers said last night.
Gantt, a guard who scored more than 2,000 career points, is headed to St. Francis (N.Y.) on a basketball scholarship. Doran, an outstanding javelin thrower, will attend Richmond on a partial track scholarship.
Shivers called Gannt "the best girls' basketball player to ever play at the school."
If the muddy fields ever dry, there are a handful of key baseball games this week.
In one of the best matchups, Cherokee (6-0), No. 1 in The Inquirer's South Jersey rankings, will be tested by visiting Eastern (4-1) tomorrow in an Olympic Conference American Division showdown.
Cherokee has a difficult week, playing host to dangerous Vineland on Thursday and facing third-ranked Buena at Washington Township in the 2 p.m. championship game of the South Jersey Classic on Sunday.
Maybe by then we'll see some spring weather.