Sports helped America heal after the tragic day of September 11, 2001. We stood as a nation united; stronger than ever before.
By: Jonathan Goad
For many people, sports are an escape from everyday life. After a bad day at work, it’s normal to turn on a ball game to cheer our favorite team to victory. It lets us get over the rough day with something positive. Even if our team loses, for a couple of hours, we don’t have to deal with the workday grind.
Today marks the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. What a terrible day that was. We all remember exactly where we were. Something I also remember is how we responded as a country.
There were no Democrats or Republicans, white or black, religious or nonreligious. We were all American. It didn’t matter what any of the beliefs were. We stood together. United.
In my lifetime, there hasn’t been a more patriotic period of time. For the 3-5 years following 9/11, every corner had an American flag flying proudly. American patriotism hit a high note. We were all genuinely proud to be American.
This terrible tragedy also affected the sports world. The games that were scheduled to be played were postponed, rightfully so. Major League Baseball was in the thick of a playoff push. The NFL had just returned.
However, some of the greatest moments in sports came from the few months following this awful attack. Just six days after the attack, the late, great Jack Buck wrote a poem.
These were powerful words that showed how we all were feeling. We mourned for the ones we had lost, but we were ready to defend our freedom.
A few days later, in the first professional sports event in New York City following the attack, Mets catcher, Mike Piazza hit go-ahead home run that gave the city something to cheer about. I think all of America cheered after seeing this.
Fast forward a month or so. The Yankees faced the Arizona Diamondbacks in the World Series. In the first game at Yankee Stadium, President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch to the chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” It felt like the entire country was participating in that chant.
Fast forward a few more months. In Super Bowl XXXVI, the New England Patriots faced the St. Louis Rams. The Patriots ended up winning the game on a last-second field goal. As much as that game hurt personally, we had all been patriots for the past few months.
We are all still patriots. We are still Americans.
Sports brought us together in a time where we needed something to distract us. No matter who we cheered for, we cheered for a game together.
We gathered with fans of our rivals because the fellowship was more important than the outcome of the game. Comradery was more important than hating the other team. We were able to unite as sports fans. We united as a country and athletics helped with that.
Thank you to the first responders who run into danger when we run away from it.
Thank you to the armed forces that protect our freedoms, sometimes with their lives.
And thank you to the athletes who gave us something to cheer about when it seemed like all had been lost.
My thoughts and prayers are with the people who lost someone and have dealt with it for 17 years. Know that you’re not alone. America is behind you.
God bless the United States of America!
Categories: The Campfire