We are all on Andrel’s side

Off the Top

There is a line that is etched between reporting and personal feelings. With the exception of column writing, opinions are kept to a minimum. The news is supposed to be unbiased and fact-based.

I am saddened by the events surrounding the car accident involving the three Gavilan basketball players that has left Andrel Gaines on life support, clinging to his life on earth via a breathing machine: Unreal, unfathomable, a parents’ worse nightmare. 

Myself, along with everyone in the newsroom, want, hope and are praying for the vibrant, likeable, spirited and loved Gaines to survive. The information we received Monday revealed that his condition was grave, with a very specific message from a trusted family friend who has been at the hospital that read ‘he will not survive.’ That’s the information, and that’s what we reported.

Underneath all of the fact checking and sourcing, writing and editing, we have feelings, too. My dad works with Andrel’s dad, Ken, and has been rallying his co-workers in support of the Gaines family. 

I spoke with Andrel numerous times while he played for Gilroy High, laughed with his teammates who are now providing an unwavering chain of support. And as much as I am supposed to separate myself and maintain professionalism, it’s difficult to not develop an appreciation and a vested interest in the well being of the student-athletes in Gilroy. Spending as many hours as I do speaking with coaches, watching games and seeing players go through their prep careers, instances like this humanize everything. The emotions are hard to deal with and hard to grasp.

Once the California Highway Patrol told the newspaper that alcohol is suspected to have played a part in the accident, the situation escalated, and had to be reported – Andrel’s condition included. The reality set in on how precious life is, every moment, every decision and how special each breath we take is. We are not invincible.

So, though I understand the anger expressed by some young people on our Facebook site – in times like these we all want to throw our hands up and beg for answers as to why things like this have to happen – be aware that we here at the local newspaper care about Andrel and the Gaines family during this horrible ordeal. But we still have to report the news.

It is wonderful and uplifting to see the overwhelming support flowing out of this community and beyond. The youth have stepped up big time in pouring the well wishes onto Facebook and Twitter. 

A tragedy like this, in a tight-knit community, hits nerves with an especially strong jolt. Just know that everyone here wants the best. And #PrayforAndrel.

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