May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: During a tragic week, many in Orange County showed support and kindness

Tustin girls basketball coach Claire Gocke had a quote from the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant at the top of each players’ locker-room cubicle Tuesday night. (Photo courtesy Tustin basketball, For OC Sports Zone)

We will never, ever forget a week like this.

We will always remember the nine victims of Sunday’s helicopter crash along with their family members and friends who are dealing with losing their loved ones.

We will also always remember those who showed such strength in such adversity and the acts of kindness this week in the wake of this horrific event.

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo

People are hurting and will continue to hurt for some time.

But this tragedy has also brought out the best in people:

—The Orange Coast College baseball players, only two days from learning that their coach John Altobelli had died in the crash, showed tremendous courage and opted to play their first game Tuesday against Southwestern. They kept their focus somehow, after an emotional ceremony before the game and undoubtedly made Alto proud. Southwestern was leading 7-6 in the ninth inning when the game was suspended on account of darkness.

—OCC sports information director Tony Altobelli somehow found the strength to be the master of ceremonies for the ceremony honoring his brother Tuesday. He shared stories about his brother, then concluded by asking the thousands of fans to spend the next few hours smiling, as his brother would want. He then went on to do his normal duties as sports information director. Remarkable.

—Altobelli’s sister, Sissy Oberlin, was willing to talk to a reporter about her brother and had a smile on her face when asked to remember him after Tuesday’s ceremony. During the week, she was supported by her friends at Beckman High, where she is the athletic secretary.

—Girls basketball coaches at Tustin (Claire Gocke) and Crean Lutheran (Bianca Ziemann) led an emotional moment of silence Tuesday before the basketball game and public address announcer Keith Martryn remembered all the victims, including the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, by reading their names.

—Cypress boys basketball coach Derek Mitchell and Pacifica Coach David Friedman encouraged fans to wear Kobe gear to the basketball game on Tuesday. Mitchell talked earlier in the week how the tragedy had affected his players and how much Kobe meant to he and his players.

—-Corona del Mar boys basketball coach Ryan Schachter shared a story about how Kobe donated $100 to his basketball program and when he was happy to take a picture with one of his players Sean Donavan.

The games go on, as they must and we all try to continue to grasp what has happened. We will always remember this week and we need to continue to talk about how much these people meant to us. We will also remember these acts of support and kindness.

May all the victims rest in peace.

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com