It’s the Homecoming football game, and you and your friends have been eagerly waiting all week to watch the Gators crush the Louisiana State University Tigers. You’re a little groggy after staying up late to watch Snoop Dogg perform at Gator Growl, but — let’s be honest — it was worth it.
After a surprisingly impressive first quarter, the marching band takes the field. The Gators just made a touchdown, and they’re ahead by six points. High spirits permeate the stadium. As the band members navigate the field, you expect them to spell out “Gators” or maybe create the outline of the state of Florida. Much to your surprise, however, instead they arrange themselves to spell out:
Darts & Laurels
Homecoming is a fun time here at UF, but the festivities aren’t distracting us from the other tragedies in the world this year. Much to our dismay, deciding on the first dart of this week was something that took no effort at all. The devastating and downright infuriating mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas earlier this week has left America and much of the world in disarray and anguish.
Fifty-eight people lost their lives at the hands of the shooter, and almost 500 people were left injured. The tragedy was named the worst and deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The aftermath of the catastrophe is a dark time for our country, and we can only hope we don’t see another similar travesty play out in the future.
In news closer to home, UF announced Thursday afternoon that the white nationalist Richard Spencer will officially be coming to UF on Oct. 19. Addressing the free speech and safety concerns this event raises would frankly take an entire editorial, so for now we’re going to settle with giving Spencer a dart for wanting to spread his hateful, racist rhetoric in the first place.
Even the darkest clouds, however, can have a silver lining. The UF community has been coming together after the horrific shooting to help ease the recovery of one of our very own. Kristin Babik, a UF law student, was injured in the shooting and left with a punctured lung and broken ribs. Although Babik is now in stable condition, she is still far from being completely healed.
Her best friend, Mikey Ballou, created a GoFundMe page for Babik in order to help her and her family cover medical expenses and the time they will have to take off work to care for her. Over the last two days, the page is more than halfway to reaching its $10,000 goal with nearly $7,000 already raised to help Babik, as of press time.
Seeing the strength and unity of The Gator Nation is something that truly warmed our hearts in a time when the world seems so cold. The devotion of Ballou to his friend and the generosity of The Gator Nation is a laurel we all need during this devastating time.
The goodness we saw in our community has made us that much more proud to be attending the best university in the state. With our Gator pride at an all-time high, we are fully prepared to celebrate our school. The greatest laurel of this week is, of course, the fact that it’s finally Homecoming! We could not be any more excited to celebrate among our fellow Gators, present and past. Happy Homecoming, Gators!