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Adam Gold

This isn't about sports

Posted September 11, 2013

Wednesday marks the 12th anniversary of one of the darkest days -- one of the darkest periods -- in our nation's history. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 left us feeling angry, scared, vulnerable and uncertain about our future. How would life forever change? How would those attacks alter our day-to-day? What would the effect be on our economy? How would we, as a nation, as Americans, react?

I think it's fair to say that a dozen years ago, everything changed -- some things for the better, some for the worse. But, it's fairly obvious that 09-11-01 is a line of demarcation that separates eras of American history.

I'll tell you what today isn't, nor should it ever be. Today isn't a time to correlate those events with sports. The anniversary of the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center and the crash that killed hundreds aboard United Airlines flight 93 that was bound for Washington, DC was a moment in time that had nothing to do with sports. It was about our culture, our way of life, our freedom and -- unfortunately -- our politics.  

The further we remove ourselves from that date 12 years ago however, the more the sports world gloms onto that tragedy as some sort of a healing mechanism. Since when? How exactly does a football game, or a baseball game or a golf tournament make the pain go away for a city with a giant hole where two skyscrapers once stood? How does sports repair the two-fifths of the Pentagon that were blown away by that American Airlines jet in northern Virginia?

Sports is NOT a diversion. Sports is simply part of our lives, assuming you choose to make it such. Sports is simply another form of entertainment, when you boil it all down, like music or movies or television or bird-watching, and it was never designed as a diversion.

The same people who spend their time using sports to reflect back on that day -- those weeks -- are the ones who are the first to remind you in the face of other tragedies that it "puts things in perspective." I'm sorry if I beg to differ. Tragic, life-altering events such as the attacks of September 11, 2001 shouldn't be needed to reassess our priorities.  

Yes, the National Football League and Major League Baseball shut down for the week. It caused the postponement of the second week of the NFL season and helped usher in MLB's first November World Series. But, what choice did the league's have in the matter? Four of the 62 franchises, plus the headquarters of both leagues were based in the New York metropolitan area, and another was based just outside our nation's capital. On top of that, in the wake of these events, both leagues had to take a hard look at venue security and both entities acted properly and with respect considering the circumstances.

Today, however, you only wish the sports community would operate with the same level of respect that the NFL and MLB did a dozen years ago. The anniversary of when our lives were forever altered should not be a reason to drum up business, like Tumbledown Trails Golf Course in Wisconsin, who offered a $9.11 greens fee for rounds played today (That deal and subsequent coupon have since been discontinued). Today should not be a day for dumbed-down conversations about how sports helped us heal from those events. It didn't.

First of all, I'm not certain we have healed from what happened 12 years ago. And second, only time is going to make that pain go away, if it ever truly does. I would guess, for those really impacted by what happened that Tuesday morning in the late summer of 2001 -- firefighters, police officers, transit workers, government employees, airline passengers, families, etc. -- the healing may never come.  

When I recall what happened 12 years ago -- where I was, how I felt -- sports never enters my mind.  I think only of my brother who worked in New York City's financial district, three blocks from the Twin Towers and the seven hours that passed before we found out that he was safe. That he was sitting in a bar in lower Manhattan watching the news on television as I was 450 miles away is only slightly amusing. The image of watching symbols of our nation destroyed is what will forever be burned in my memory, not how emotionally charged it was when the Mets and Braves played the first game in New York following the resumption of play.

Sports is simply a part of some of our lives, and even in the face of such atrocities, life has no choice but to go on. Let's do the right thing, the sensible thing, and not try to filter one of the most terrifying days in American history through the prism of the games that we watch.

14 Comments

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  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Sep 11, 3:25 p.m.

    There is no sporting event that will ever take away the memories I have about 9/11. I was at work (only a few miles from RDU)when I heard about the attack, and everything I did that day seemed so trivial compared to the horror that unfolded the following hours, days, weeks, and years.

    I disagree that sports aren't a diversion, because they are for me. Sports are an escape, a few hours where I can forget about the trials and tribulations of life. I used to hate the Yankees, but seeing the way they played so hard to bring one shred of joy to their fans - and New York City - in their first game after 9/11, I can't hate them anymore. They did lose the game, but not for lack of effort.

    America lost something that day that we'll never get back, just as Boston did when the bombs exploded during the marathon. We can still enjoy sports while we never forget - or disrespect - the suffering that resulted from the horrific attacks against Americans.

  • InTheNo Sep 11, 3:48 p.m.

    ...what...?

  • unclegrits Sep 11, 4:07 p.m.

    Great stuff Adam. It seems more and more going to a sporting event means an overkill of all things USA. What is wrong with playing the national anthem and getting on with the game? Now we need additional songs, flag waving and crowd based themes. Some say it shows support for our troops, I say it is surface level and phony. If you want to really support our troops volunter your time with Wounded Warriors or write to congress to get them to actually provide benefits to our recent vets and save sports for what it is - entertainment.

  • SaveEnergyMan Sep 11, 4:39 p.m.

    I agree with jgunn. Sports are a diversion. They are there for no other purpose than entertainment for the millions of people who go about 95%+ of their lives where sports are not a part. For you Adam, sports is an integral part of life - since this is your profession. For the rest of us, they are simply another diversion from life's trials and tribulations - like movies or a hobby.

    9/11 did a lot of things for us and to us. It was a day in history like Pearl Harbor or the sinking of the Maine (late 1800's) where America was not quite the same as before. Sports changed too because we all did. In disaster people seek the company and consolation of others, and sports is where people congregate. Special ceremonies and patriotism helped Americans deal with the tragedy and heal a little. Not a cure, but more of a soothing of the symptoms. So, it is about sports - how sports did its part in helping after 9/11 as an integral part of our national experience.

  • kmorcomeback2 Sep 11, 4:39 p.m.

    Adam......this is a little too much. I think you are better than this my friend.

  • JACKSONSAWYER IS SUPREME Sep 11, 5:23 p.m.

    There is no sporting event that will ever take away the memories I have about 9/11. I was at... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    THE USA ALSO GAINED SOMETHING THAT DAY-- IT EXPOSED US THAT WE WILL RALLY WHEN FACED WITH ADVERSITY, NOW IN JUST 12 YEARS WE TEND TO DRIFTING BACK TO BENDING OVER BACKWARDS TO HELP OUR ENEMIES.

  • JACKSONSAWYER IS SUPREME Sep 11, 5:26 p.m.

    Great stuff Adam. It seems more and more going to a sporting event means an overkill of all... View More

    — Posted by unclegrits

    actually to provide benefits to all vets-WWII vets waited a lifetime for some kind of help!!!

  • NothingButNet Sep 11, 5:54 p.m.

    There is no sporting event that will ever take away the memories I have about 9/11. I was at... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    I agree with you about sports being a diversion, as well not disrespecting the tragedy that many Americans have suffered - that golf course in Wisconsin that offered a "$9.11" greens fee is disgusting.

    I also agree with Jacob - that while America lost something as a result of 9/11 (a sense of security for one), we DID gain something, in that we came together in an effort to support our country and begin the heaing process. Also agree with Jacob about providing benefits to ALL Vets.

  • NEVER apologize for being white Sep 11, 7:05 p.m.

    Then why did you write it? To hear yourself talk, thats why. Useless, meaningless, space. If I wanted to give thought to this tragedy, I wouldn't have clicked on this story. I was interested in the SPORTS area of the so called news.

    Ole Adam Mold Boyeee! Please go back to up north where you came from. Please!

  • schiess Sep 11, 9:33 p.m.

    Adam ,you have always been a class act .your story hits my heart bro ,my wife lost 90 + friends and associates on this day and anyone of you go back north where you came from ignorant you know what types can crawl back into your who won the war bs.we were attacked by spineless walks of life,show some compassion or shut your face .my wife worked for fiduciary trust in tower b,so if you all want to pile on then so be it.adam thank you again my friend from nutley.....paulie SCHIESS cary North Carolina ,former northerner .

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