Just two miles away from Saturday’s tragedy, sits Trooper Stadium.
Monday morning, Eastwood tried to begin picking up the pieces, but it has hit close to home.
“That specific Wal-Mart, the mall obviously, are places that are in our community,” Eastwood head coach Julio Lopez said. “A lot of our kids shop there, a lot of their families shop there.”
The humbling reality of Saturday: it could’ve been anyone.
“My family could’ve been there,” junior linebacker Rudy Tellez said. “We were actually there last weekend. We could’ve been there, my friends or family.”
Monday was supposed to be a joyous occasion for Eastwood; the start of football season always is. However, things are different now.
“These are young men; they understand the magnitude of what happened and that our community is in mourning,” Lopez said. “You can definitely tell there’s a different attitude coming into a practice like today.”
A few Troopers stepped up this weekend, volunteering at one of the local blood drives.
“It wasn’t just us was there. I saw pictures of Del Valle there,” senior quarterback Christian Castaneda said. “This whole city, we’re great. We do everything for each other. Anything to help each other out.”
It’s perhaps cliché to say, that sports can be a part of the healing process after a tragedy. But Eastwood hopes it can be a community release, in any way possible.
“If football can be an escape for two and a half hours from what we’ve gone through as a city, then it’s our job to provide that,” Lopez said. “We are all as a community hurting for them, but if we can do anything to try to help, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Lopez said that the Troopers are planning on taking donations at their midnight madness practice this Friday night. There’s also plans of turning it into a community event, complete with a blood drive and movie on the Trooper Stadium jumbotron. Those details are still being ironed out and will be released as they become available.