Ghosts of September


Published: August 30, 2007

Hector Casanova/MCT

Every sports fan revels in this time of year, a time when football begins and baseball reaches its always-exciting culmination. However, in recent years, fans cannot help but pause to reflect, for a moment in mid-September, on the relative importance of it all. Few Americans and even fewer New Yorkers will ever forget what transpired just six years ago on Sept. 11, 2001. Memories of that day evoke pain and sadness, but memories of what occurred in the weeks that followed provide the inspiration to persevere. No sports fan will ever forget the images of athletes and coaches observing tearful moments of silence before their games. Fans will never forget the new appreciation they felt for “God Bless America” the first time it was played during the seventh inning stretch of baseball games around the nation. As we approach the sixth anniversary of the tragedy, “God Bless America” is still played during the seventh inning stretch of every baseball game at Yankee Stadium. In the wake of great tragedy, American sports transcended their limitations as games and helped many Americans begin the healing process.

As debris still lay in lower Manhattan, the games went on, respectfully and full of the American spirit. It is essential that, in light of recent controversies in many of the major sports, the sports world maintains its integrity. Sports gave millions of people a gateway through which they could escape the horrors of reality into a world of purity and simplicity, a world far more civilized and innocent than the one in which we live. As we prepare for yet another thrilling fall in the world of sports, we must take a moment to realize just what the sports we love have meant to us. This fall, take a moment to watch our flag wave atop the rafters of a football game. Listen to “God Bless America” echo through the stadium after the top of the seventh inning and remember why it is playing. Pay reverent homage to the real heroes lost that day, but also remember that, like our nation, the game bravely went on.