Shoot­ing hits home for Stamps’ play­ers

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - DANNY AUSTIN daustin@post­media.com www.twit­ter.com/Dan­nyAustin_9

Both Alex Sin­gle­ton and Eric Rogers know the Border­line Bar & Grill.

Sin­gle­ton grew up in Thou­sand Oaks, Calif., af­ter all, and his fam­ily still lives in the city.

Rogers went to col­lege at Cal­i­for­nia Lutheran Univer­sity, which hap­pens to call Thou­sand Oaks home.

So when a gun­man opened fire on the Border­line Bar & Grill on Wed­nes­day night, killing 12 coun­try mu­sic fans, it hit close to home for both Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers.

“I woke up to phone calls at 6 (a.m.) from my mom and sis­ter,” Sin­gle­ton said. “My sis­ter wasn’t there, but she was (home) two days ear­lier and would have been at the bar, so I think it was the first time my mom was happy we weren’t home. It’s one of those things where you’ve gotta stick to­gether, hug some­one you love and keep ev­ery­one in your thoughts and prayers.”

Thank­fully, nei­ther Rogers or Sin­gle­ton knew any­body who had been hurt or killed in Wed­nes­day ’s mass shoot­ing, but it was nev­er­the­less a shock to hear and read about the mass shoot­ing. How could it not be?

“A lot of peo­ple I went to school with, every­body was talk­ing about it,” Rogers said. “We went to that place plenty of times for col­lege night, same night they were there for. You never know, any­thing can hap­pen at any time. A guy walks up and starts do­ing what he’s do­ing, it’s not like he got in tight, he just walked up.”

Un­for­tu­nately, the peo­ple of Thou­sand Oaks also had to deal with more than just Amer­ica’s lat­est tragic mass shoot­ing.

Soon af­ter­wards, a mas­sive wild­fire broke out near the South­ern Cal­i­for­nia city, prompt­ing au­thor­i­ties to or­der a manda­tory evac­u­a­tion for large areas. “There’s a fire, too, so my par­ents stayed up all night last night think­ing they might get evac­u­ated,” Sin­gle­ton said.

BRAN­DON SMITH OUT

Bran­don Smith didn’t par­tic­i­pate in Fri­day’s prac­tice at McMa­hon Sta­dium.

The prac­tice hap­pened to fall a full nine days be­fore the Stam­ped­ers are next set to take the field, of course, so the vet­eran half­back’s ab­sence prob­a­bly doesn’t pro­vide much of an in­di­ca­tor of how the team is plan­ning on lin­ing up for the West fi­nal on Nov. 18.

Make no mis­take, though, this wasn’t a vet­eran’s day for Smith.

“He’s hurt­ing,” said Stamps head coach Dave Dick­en­son. “Our back end has been hurt­ing a bit, there’s prob­a­bly three or four guys who I think will be avail­able but they were hurt­ing.”

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