The popular opinion throughout the sporting world is that the National Football League made the right decision in canceling the games this weekend in respect to the tragic events that took place in New York City. Certainly, one cannot even begin to put into words the magnitude of what took place Tuesday morning. While our timeline is broken down into Before and After Christ, America may well have to add an AB (After Bombing) category because every day after Tuesday will never be the same as the comparatively frivolous days beforehand when our country dealt with such minor issues as health care, education, and poverty. (Again, this is all relative).
Now, as we all know, the very backbone of our nation has been attacked, and with all the mass carnage and fear this has provoked, it has also evoked a sense of nationalism. We have to rally behind the very essence of America, the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, to show whomever is behind these acts that while they may have knocked us down, we are right back up. And what is more American than Football?
Now, even the most ardent sports fan will attest that sports is just a game, and if the cancellation of the football, baseball, hockey, croquet and any other sport's season would make the events of Tuesday never happen, we'd all be attending poetry readings or some other form of entertainment. But, if we're still sure of anything, it is that life does go on, and now is not the time to put our tails between our legs and hide indoors. America is still a land that needs its heroes and its warriors, maybe now more then ever. They needed to show America on Sunday that guess what folks? It's still football season. They need to show all the Palestinians dancing in the West Bank and across from the George Washington Bridge that while the perpetrators may have landed a lucky sucker punch, America is right back on their feet. However, the mass consensus from players and personnel was that playing Sunday would be the equivalent of disrespecting the graves of the victims.
"We in the National Football League have decided that our priorities for this weekend are to pause, grieve and reflect. It is a time to tend to families and neighbors and all those wounded by these horrific acts of terrorism," said NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
However, these games could have helped on a national scale to boost morale and restore a sense of normalcy to a proud nation looking for something to get us back on our feet. While New York will weigh heavily on our minds this weekend, and then for many more weekends, the games could have served as a diversion for three hours when things would be the way they were last weekend. Every one of those games this weekend would be a gigantic patriotic rally, and football would be the vehicle that led the charge.
My first instinct after seeing the center crumble and fellow Americans doing high dives from the 80th story to prevent burning was one of despair and hopelessness. Who could think about sports at a time like this? What am I supposed to write about, the pennant races? Who cares?
But we keep on trucking, if for no other reason then there is no other alternative. No one felt like going to classes this week, but we did. In New York, restaurants and theaters are already open for business.
If the NFL needs a little more time, then so be it. But when the games eventually resume, they have to get rid of the notion that their efforts on the football fields cannot provide aid to a nation in need of it. Every time a running back from some unknown team breaks away from a defender, he will also be helping to leave behind the dark shadows of the demented criminals who when all is said and done will be defeated - Big Time.
Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger stated, "there's only one way to deal with people like this, that's to kill some of them. They need to be hit." It is unfortunate that some innocent people will have to die as a result, but maybe that will loosen the hold Osama bin Laden has over his crazed fanatics. Maybe seeing friends and family perish will clear their eyes and enable them to stop seeing bin Laden as a prophet and start seeing him as a devil. It is unfortunate there will be more bloodshed, but if the loss of some will help protect the lives of our fellow Americans, then so be it. Now is not a time to be diplomatic, now is a time to take care of our own.
Families pull together in tough times, and we need every member of our 281 million member family to pull together and do his or her own part. Every time we make a donation or give blood to the Red Cross, we are injecting life into the very pulse of our country.
By themselves, these acts are trivial in the grand scheme of things. But it is the compilation of millions of these acts from every segment of our society that will restore our nation to the way it was. Now is a time for healing, and every touchdown pass, every concert, and every five-dollar bill that goes towards relief efforts will have its desired effect. The show must go on, and God Bless America.