OKLAHOMA CITY, Sept. 10, 2011—When a tragedy happens things are put into perspective. A friend or family member dies, and suddenly the fact that you hate your job doesn’t really matter as much. The United States was attacked on September 11th, and suddenly the fact that your team lost that weekend before doesn’t really matter.
After the Twin Towers fell everything stopped. No television, radio or newspapers were about anything other than the attacks, and sports seasons went on hiatus. The malls even closed. Everybody was scared.
With nobody knowing what to do or how to get back to normalcy, sports took the lead. First it was baseball, then it was football. To say the sports helped us forget would be wrong, but to say that they helped us heal would be more accurate. When things go bad people want familiarity. They want to do things that remind them of what it was like before.
The Mets had played on the road when the season started back up but not at home in New York. The first game back ended dramatically with a walk-off home run from Mike Piazza.
A lasting image is of Ricky Waters, a Seattle Seahawks running back, with tears streaming down his face during the National Anthem for the first weekend of NFL games returning. NFL and college teams ran on the field holding American flags.
It was perfect that the New York Yankees were in the World Series. Yankee Stadium had a flag from the World Trade Center flying in centerfield. September 11th brought the country together. The Yankees are the most loved and most hated team in baseball, yet even some Yankee haters were even cheering for New York.
The Yankees lost in seven games to the Arizona Diamondback in one of the greatest World Series of all time. But remember, Arizona is in America, too.
The Super Bowl that year was won fittingly by the Patriots. Not only were the Patriots a symbol for America, but the halftime show had U2 performing. The Irish band honored the fallen by listing all the victims names behind them with Bono, the lead singer, opening his jacket to reveal an American flag.
Since 9/11 the games haven’t changed much, but being a spectator has. Going through metal detectors is fairly normal, and nobody objects for extra security checks. Military fly-overs have become common during the anthem and are very cool and a little scary. What if those planes…?
It can’t be lost that when the world found out about bin Lauden being killed that the Philadelphia Phillies were playing the Washington Nationals in the 9th inning with the score tied 1-1. Flight 93 went down in Pennsylvania, and don’t forget the Pentagon was attacked on 9/11 too.
The NFL and MLB will have a slate of games on the 10 year anniversary of the attacks. They will all have some kind of ceremony, patch on the jersey or special presentation. And while we still heal, this time it will be to remember.
Jason Black is a regular sports contributor on America’s Morning News and America’s Radio News. Coincidently, or not, he also does movie reviews for KJ103 and102.1 Kissin’ Country. You can also follow Jason on Twitter @jasonblack23.
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