Dr. Z’s diagnosis
Let the games begin… but they won’t be the same.
For the last week, our lives have been consumed in front of the television, thinking and talking about what happened on September 11 and why. And for the last week, the sports world has been on hold.
Yesterday, baseball resumed play for the first time in nearly a week, but with a much different feel. When the public address announcer asked everyone in the stadiums across the U.S. to rise for the National Anthem, people weren’t continuing their conversations. Fans weren’t chowing down on their hot dogs and pretzels, or chugging their beer in preparation for another. All eyes were fixated on one thing and one thing only: the flag. And all ears were soothed to the sound of our national song. These two items that represent our freedom and our country are some of the many things that we take for granted. But after Tuesday, our priorities were back in place.
Players live through their sports, fans eat and drink their favorite teams and players and journalists live to cover a game. But in the larger realm, it doesn’t really matter. David Aldridge, a highly respected columnist for ESPN, wrote of his experience. He had gone to bed Monday night worrying about finding Michael Jordan in Chicago. Aldridge wanted an interview with MJ concerning his possible return to the hardwood next month. A phone call woke him up the next morning with news that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. His thoughts completely changed. He didn’t care for Jordan, or Chicago or the NBA. He wanted to speak with his wife, his children, his family.
Mark McGwire, a prominent voice for baseball, spoke up at his disapproval that it took the league until Thursday to cancel all weekend games. For him, it wasn’t even something to be discussed. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out sporting events are absolutely meaningless compared with what’s going on in Washington and New York,” he said. Many other players, such as New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde, expressed concern that they were going to be forced to play games with thoughts much greater than football on their minds.
In the end, the sports world made the right decision. And while it may have taken too long, I’m glad that no games were played over the weekend. Players, like many of us, needed time to reflect, needed time to spend with loved ones. Tuesday’s events will forever be ingrained in our minds, but we will move on. Such is the case in sports. Barry Bonds will hit his 71st home run in a few weeks, the Seattle Mariners will win more games than any other baseball team ever has, and the Rams will climb back to Super Bowl glory. The country and the sports world will rebound from the tragedy, but it will not be forgotten. You can bet on the fact that when those players look up at that flag, just as us fans will, there will be a new sense of pride.
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