Every generation has gone through tragedies such as wars, assassinations, etc. People of such generation remember where they were when they heard about the sneak attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, or when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, or when John Lennon was assassinated on December 8, 1980.
I personally can remember my mom who is no longer alive (RIP) telling me her recollections of Pearl Harbor Day and how she and my father (RIP) were going to Philadelphia to visit his relatives, and they heard that President Kennedy was shot, but by the time they got to Philadelphia, he had died. My family and I had heard of Lennon’s assassination on the late local news. Just tragic.
Of course, today will mark the day, ten years ago , on that bright sunny morning of September 11, 2001, two passenger planes which were hijacked crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, and one other plane, also hijacked crashed into the Pentagon. A separate plane that was believed to be headed to the White House, Flight 93, crashed in Pennsylvania because the brave passengers decided that the hijackers were not going to cause more destruction. I want to say not only were the police, and the firefighters that came to the sites heroes, but so were the Flight 93 passengers. Over 3,000 people or so lost their lives, and are in my prayers daily.
[adinserter block=”2″] I remember sitting in my former apartment watching Fox News that morning, and they thought at first it was a small plane that hit the towers. Well, about 15 minutes later, this huge airliner hit the other tower, and I KNEW it was terrorism. Later, they announced that the Pentagon was hit, and I thought, “Those bastards are going to try to kill us all.” Sadly, I sat watching the once mighty World Trade Center come crashing down. I am from the Tri-State area originally. I was born in a NY hospital, but lived in NJ for 30 years before moving to KY in the late 90’s. I love NYC. It is hands down the best city in the world. My heart broke for all those senseless deaths. It did not make any sense to me. God made us all the same. We all may view Him through different lenses (worship Him differently), or choose not to view him at all (not to worship Him). The point is that are all here together on this earth, and for people to hijack planes, and destroy lives is just so senseless. I have been up the World Trade Center, and I do admit that it broke my heart to see those once mighty towers come crashing down.
As most people know, just about everything ground to a halt, but eventually life got going again after the disaster. The one thing that I found helpful to get people through the tragedy was sports. Now, I want to say that sporting events won’t cure all the ills that happened after the disaster. There were lots of people missing, and there were people digging in the rubble and stuff. Sports wouldn’t have found anyone or would not have replaced the bread winner in the house. However, what I find about sports is that it is a much needed distraction. It takes your mind away from serious problems for awhile. I think one needs that, even a person dealing with a tragedy like 9/11. Sports also can unite people. You are rooting for something.
On September 13, 2001, two days after the disaster, in the Compaq Center in Houston, TX, WWE did a live Smackdown Taping. Vince McMahon came out and did a great patriotic promo. Lilian Garcia who was their ring announcer at the time, did a great version of the National Anthem. The Superstars came out with American Flags in their hands. I thought it was a wonderful thing to do. What was great was that it was one of the first sports related organizations to put on a performance after 9/11.
The Major League Baseball Season was supposed to end on Sept. 30th, but due to the attacks, it was pushed back to Oct. 7th. There was definitely a lot of emotion when then President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch at a New York Yankee Game in Game 3 of the World Series. Fans were so proud, and patriotic. It was a good “to hell with you” to the terrorists who tried to take this country down. Considering it was after 9/11, I was hoping the Yankees would have pulled it out, but it was not to be as the Arizona Diamond Backs won the Series. However, the Yankees’ being in the World Series was great for the city of New York , a city that needed healing.
The National Football League postponed the games scheduled for Sept 15th-17th and had them played the weekend of Jan 6-7 , 2002 due to the attacks. When games resumed, teams honored those who lost their lives. Having the NFL back was a great salve for NFL fans to take their minds off the tragedy and to show those terrorists that Americans are not afraid or intimidated by their actions. One team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, when as far as to help honor those brave passengers of Flight 93.
This last example is going to combine the NFL, and my personal favorite sport, the sport of Kings, also known as Thoroughbred Racing. About six weeks after the 9/11 attacks, horse racing’s version of the Super Bowl, or the Olympics , The Breeder’s Cup was held at the legendary Belmont Park in Elmont, NY out on Long Island. The Breeder’s Cup is a day of races with different races of different categories (Sprint, Juvenile Fillies, Juveniles, Turf, etc). Well, the BIG race is the Breeder’s Cup Classic. It is a mile and a quarter on dirt. In the race was the defending Classic winner, and then reigning Horse of the Year, Tiznow, and the L’Arc de Triomphe winner Sahkee, along with other excellent horses such as Include, Galileo, Macho Uno, and others. Well, coming around the top of the stretch, a horse named Albert the Great was in the lead, when Sahkee, who was owned, and trained by Arabs , grabbed the lead. Tiznow, in between horses, got after Sahkee, and eventually wore him down, and nosed out Sahkee for the win, and becoming the first (and only) horse to ever win two Breeder’s Cup Classics in a row. What is so memorable is that then NBC racetrack announcer, Tom Durkin made the call, “…and Tiznow wins it for AMERICA!!” God, that gave me chills when he said that.
[adinserter block=”1″]Now, where is the NFL connection? Well, soon after that race had run, an NFL head coach by the name of Bill Belichick was getting his team, the New England Patriots ready for the playoffs, and he used Tiznow’s Breeder’s Cup victory as inspiration. At the time, the Patriots were using a 6th round pick named Tom Brady as their QB as then starting QB Drew Bledsoe had gotten hurt in a game against the Jets (who was healthy again by the time the Patriots made the playoffs but since Tom was playing so well, Tom was the QB.).
Anyway, as most people know by now, the Patriots got through the playoffs, and went to Super Bowl 36 against the highly favored, high powered Rams, and defeated them, winning their first of three Super Bowls. Upon accepting the Trophy, Patriots owner Bob Kraft said, “We are ALL Patriots.”
Yes. Mr. Kraft. We sure are.
Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/missedgehead