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Sprints Is Crying With Hope // 02.19.10

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And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan ...
--"With Hope," Steve Curtis Chapman

It's so trite to ask, "What can you say about ... ?" Especially now, after we've seen so many of these tragedies play out time after time after time, each one seemingly more heartbreaking than the last. So let's try it this way: How does any grown man think the appropriate response to a break-up is to shoot anyone, much less an 18-year-old man -- and Rajaan Bennett acted like a man even at that age, whether he should have been forced into the role or not -- with a life ahead of him full of such promise? With any kind of life ahead of him? There is no understanding it; sometimes we have to live with something despite its senselessness.

Steger allegedly broke into the Bennett's home on Woodcrest Drive just southwest of downtown Powder Springs.

Rajaan's younger sister Narcharlette, a middle schooler, quietly called 911 around 2:30 a.m. to report Steger's intrusion, Dorsey said. Four minutes later police arrived and "as they approached and knocked on the door, they heard several gunshots," Powder Springs Police Maj. Charles Spann told the AJC.

Inside police found the bodies of Rajaan, captain of the 2009 McEachern football team and an all-state running back with a 3.8 GPA, and Steger, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, said Powder Springs Police spokesman Matt Boyd.

Rajaan Bennett was on track to play for Vanderbilt, a school he chose because of its academics and not because of its athletics. He was wildly anticipated in Nashville. He was the headliner of the 2010 class, and he could have gone to any number of schools that would have given him a worse education and a better chance at the NFL. He was doing everything right -- everything we want young men to do, everything we sometimes plead with them to do. It feels like it shouldn't have to end at all, seems as if it certainly shouldn't end like this.

Rajaan was in sixth grade when his father died. From then on, he was man of the house, a responsibility he took seriously, Dorsey said.

"He would come eat lunch with his brother and the other special needs students regularly," the McEachern A.D. said. ...

To donate, Hockman said send checks made out to the McEachern Endowment Fund with "Rajaan Bennett Memorial" written in the bottom left corner. McEachern High School’s address is 2400 New Macland Road, Powder Springs, GA 30127. For more information, please call 770-222-3710. [Emphasis added.]

Vanderbilt fans are appropriately asking for a moment of silence. Bobby Johnson was, as you might expect him to be, shaken as he addressed the subject that no head coach -- no human being -- should ever have to address.

Rajaan's death is tragic enough, but it is hardly the only tragedy of its kind. According to the FBI, 1,096 17- to 19-year-olds were killed by firearms in 2008; another 270 were killed with some other weapon. The larger tragedy is that Rajaan is not alone -- and that the numbers tell us that some other 18-year-old has likely been shot and killed since then, and you and I haven't heard anything about it.

We should mourn for Rajaan. But when do we mourn for them?

Play Ball!
Red Cup Rebellion predicts the season for Ole Miss, including this possibility:

With what pitching we have, we may forget just how good Drew Pomeranz is.  I think he will be taken in the first round for sure, and he may even be pitcher of the year in the SEC.  I'm going to agree with your take on the LSU weekend series.  Here's the shocker:  we miss the SEC baseball tourney.  No postseason.

That might be a bit harsh.

And The Valley Shook takes a look at the LSU pitching staff.

Robby Green and the process
In this case, though, Nick Saban is referring to "the process of determining the facts" vis a vis "a situation" with the Alabama safety. In other words, rumors of his suspension have been greatly exaggerated. For now.

Stay classy, Lexington
Some Kentucky fans apparently decided the way to respond to the juvenile act of Mississippi State fans calling DeMarcus Cousins was to call State head coach Rick Stansbury.

After the game, Mississippi State Coach Rick Stansbury said he got so many crank calls from the state of Kentucky that he disconnected his home and cell phones.

"They got my cell and home numbers," Stansbury said on Thursday. "It started after 6 (p.m. on Wednesday). The first few, I didn’t pay much attention till it kept going on and going on and going on."

That'll teach 'em?

Listen, this was mildly amusing back when LSU fans started it in football. It's become unoriginal and annoying and now Kentucky fans have managed to make it hypocritical.

Mike Slive is watching you
Another reminder that criticizing officials can be costly.