By ALAN SNEL
The signs of coping and healing and crying are all over Las Vegas — the new memorial garden near City Hall, the skywriter who left a heart above the city and the Saturday night bicyclists with lighted two-wheelers who raised money for the shooting massacre victims.
And Saturday night, the game entertainment and marketing staffers for UNLV football game struck the right chord at Sam Boyd Stadium to honor the first responders who risked their lives to save so many other lives when a 64-year-old Mesquite, NV shooter murdered 58 innocent country music fans at a festival on the Strip from his nearby Mandalay Bay hotel-casino room Sunday night.
The police and fire-rescue personnel walked into Sam Boyd Stadium and released 58 white balloons — one for each person killed by the murderer.
And in a touching move, each UNLV football player came onto the field and shook the hand of a different first responder as lines of both — first responders and Rebels players — came together on the Sam Boyd Stadium gridiron.
UNLV played video clips of coaches thanking first responders, the Andre Agassi-narrated video about Las Vegas standing strong and news clips showing the horror. But the content was not overwhelming and did not overshadow the play on the field. UNLV could not overcome San Diego State’s superior talent, losing 41-10 and dropping to 2-3 on the season.
As the first responders left the field before the game started, halftime performer Pat Dalton thanked every single officer and fire-rescue staffer.
“Thank you for what you do,” Dalton repeated to each.
He then told LVSportsBiz.com, “I saw what they did. It’s an honor to thank them.”
Fans also came ready to support Las Vegas during this emotionally-troubled week.
LVSportsBiz.com was hoping to talk with UNLV Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois about Saturday’s game presentation, but she could not be reached.
Sam Boyd Stadium Executive Director Mike Newcomb said UNLV worked with San Diego State to have the San Diego State team wear the red ribbon stickers. Sam Boyd Stadium also added a red ribbon to the football field in the middle of the week, Newcomb said.
Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com