I remember 9/11/01 and what it meant at the time.
All I was concerned with at the time was Jay-Z’s new album, the Yankees pennant chase and how poorly the Giants played the night before on Monday Night Football.
Nothing prepared me for the horrors of what would take place the next day or anyone else for that matter.
9/11 was the uneasiest day for anyone living in the continental United States at the time. The attacks made by the Al Qaeda terrorists were an attack on our way of life and were made to frighten us and prevent us from doing the daily things that we love to do.
I remember how everything on TV just stopped. There were no sitcom reruns, no reality show re-runs, and most importantly no sports.
Baseball had halted its season, which included Barry Bonds’ chase of Mark McGwire’s home run record and the NFL and College Football called off their weekly schedules giving us no relief from the sad, new reality that was setting in around us.
It dawned on me how important sports was to out landscape at that moment.
Were called fans for a reason, we’re fanatical about the teams that we follow to the point that it places us in a world that’s far away from reality for just a few hours. Think about how much most of us hate our jobs or get annoyed by certain things in our life and about how three hours of watching the Heat, Bulls, Lightning or anyone gives us a sense of relief whether its through the frustration of putting ourselves in the athletes shoes or the joy of having you team come out on top.
Truthfully sports helped us all get through the tragedy of 9/11 more than anything else. We immersed ourselves in Bonds’ chase; we became amazed and gazed in awe as the Yankees somehow came back from deficits in three straight games to turn the World Series into a classic that’s still talked about today. We rode on the Patriots bandwagon and their “nobody believed in us” story all the way to the Super Bowl and fell in love with Tom Brady and he ultimately became a superstar.
The presence of sports helped us cope and deal with the seemingly new world that we were living in, but it also became a rallying call as a means to fight what Al Qaeda was trying to do to us.
Their plan was to put fear into our hearts and to prevent us from living our lives. Yet even as stadiums were put on high terror alerts the fans still came out in droves to support their favorite teams.
Fathers brought their families, friends came out to have a good time and watch their favorite athletes do their thing for 4 quarters or 3 periods and to help deal with the terrors of possible attacks by terrorists and from the anthrax scare that existed at the time.
The point was that even though they were trying change who we were and how we lived it wasn’t working.
Yesterday was a big reminder of just how far we’ve come from that day almost ten years ago.
In the 9th inning of a rivalry game between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies, a buzz came over the stadium as fans let out loud cheers and raucous chants of U.S.A! U.S.A.! No the Phillies hadn’t scored and they weren’t even up to bat. Osama Bin Laden was killed by our troops in Pakistan after they found his hiding spot. As President Obama was confirming the news, Citizens Bank Park had erupted in a huge celebratory cheer. The man that spread hate and declared war on our way of living was dead.
Far be it for anyone to celebrate anyone’s death but we had a right to.
Ten years ago we had out family time, our recreation time, our night out with the fellas or our date night with our mates taken away by this man. And the threat that it would happen again was far too real. More than a cheer for his death, it was a cheer for our service men that hunted him for ten years and kept Al Qaeda at bay to preserve our way of life. It was Philadelphia’s and our way showing them our appreciation even though some cheers were taunts at Osama’s demise.
Is there still a threat of danger out there even though Osama is gone? Of course. He spread his message of hate to other people who will probably take a crack at damaging our way of life again. However, we as people and as fans have made our statement with our actions since then.
We as a culture don’t get scared. It’s not in our blood. We’ve become a nation of bravado and pride due to the music we listen to, the people we idolize, and the athletes that we watch on a daily basis.
We love the tough guys, the Brett Favre’s who never miss a day of work, the Daniel Carcillo’s who are tough as nails and will scrap with anyone, the Derrick Rose’s who drive down the lane knowing they’ll get hit but keep doing it again and again. That’s who we are. It doesn’t matter who tries to change that about us, it’s instilled in us. You may have gotten us to flee for a week, and we were weary when first began to return but once we came back, we stayed in our seats and cheered, and booed and had fun in ways that only we can.
We not only earned a victory in the execution of Osama Bin Laden, but we won the battle for our way of life here at home long before he met his end.
After I shed a few tears of relief and reflected on that horrible day ten years ago, I went to home and cranked Jay-Z’s Blueprint while I went nodded to sleep, the same as I did ten years ago. This sleep was much more relaxing and calming then the one that occurred after 9/11.
When I woke up today all I did was listen to Jay-Z, think about how Ivan Nova is improving as a starter and wonder how well the Giants draft picks will do once we get some football going again.
Just the status quo for me, thankfully nothing has changed that.