This has always been my favorite time of year as a sports fan. Baseball is in full swing, pro and college football begin new campaigns, and NHL training camps wrap up, and pre-season begins.
A few Mondays ago, I went to bed thinking about whether Barry Bonds would break the homerun record, and if my hockey team could make it past the second round of the playoffs this time. I was also looking forward to the Felix Trinidad fight at the end of the week.
Early that next morning I was woken up from a blissful sleep by the phone ringing, and on the other end of the line was my grandfather’s voice, I recognized it instinctively. His is the kind of voice that is always upbeat, even in the most grave of situations, and every sentence either begins, or ends with a hearty laugh. What I didn’t recognize was the deadly serious tone that his voice carried.
My head was immediately clear as he delivered the news.The words he spoke shattered any idea of the reality that I, or the rest of our nation, had ever known before that moment.
Terrorists had hijacked three commercial airliners and had crashed them into the World Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon, and a fourth airliner was missing. I, like much of the country, will never forget the images I saw that day. No matter how hard I try, I can’t erase the terrible footage of the first tower burning, then moments later, an airliner plows into the second tower.
It took only seconds for the tears to fall, and less than an hour for both of the mighty towers to follow suit. As I sat down, I thought of a million things all at once; unable, unwilling to believe that it was real, and not a scene from some low class Bruckheimer/Bay production.
Those were real planes, and real buildings. Those people jumping to thier deaths from the 80th floor were real – someone’s brother, dad, husband, wife, mother, or sister. This was a U.S. city, not some distant place we coul d easily disassociate ourselves with.
Never again would I know what life was like before this horrible event, nor would any other American.
Of course the next thoughts I had were about the immediate future, and the thousands of lives that were senselessly taken by madmen. I forgot all about my hockey team, Barry Bonds, and Felix Trinidad. Somehow thier place in the grand scheme of things just dropped immensely, and rightfully so.
The games stopped, to allow the nation to heal, and to honor the true heroes of this disaster, and to remember the victims, and thier families. But as is the case for life, the games go on now, and rightfully so. I believe they play a key role in helping this nation come together, and heal together, bringing some sort of normalcy back to our lives.