A Little Before My Time: 9/11 and Baseball

This day eleven years ago, for someone that really does not have that great of a short-term or long-term memory, I feel like I remember the day’s events pretty well. I remember coming downstairs after waking up to have breakfast before school started:

“Stuart, I think you should see this.”

After my Dad said this to me, the first tower had already been hit, and I was so confused as to what was going on. Just a teenager, and very wrapped up in my own world, I had gone through New York once on a bus at night for a tour on our way to the National Jamboree for Boy Scouts, but if I remember right, I was asleep. I had no idea what was significant about the World Trade Center, and had the ignorant arrogance to wonder why anyone would want to attack my country. I went to school, my family made sure we had a plan in case anything happened on our side of the country, and as I went into my first class, I asked a teacher to turn the radio on. Nothing much doing since by this time the second tower had already been hit, and for the rest of the day we had adults try to explain to us what was going on, why the giant American flags were going to be posted all over people’s cars for weeks, while they tried themselves to keep it all together.

My cross-country team didn’t run that day. We talked instead. I didn’t know how to deal with it, admittedly trying to pretend I was not shaken by what had happened. Everyone was so sad, I think a lot of us were a little scared, too. That feeling of a loss of safety and insecurity easing its way into our souls. Our talk ended not long after it started, I don’t know if anyone ran that day. I had time to see a girl to drop a gift off across the valley, but unfortunately I had my learner’s permit so my dad was with me, so no quality time for a teenage relationship. I got home with my dad, the rest of the family already home, and watched TV coverage of the attacks for the rest of the day. I remember trying to cry, but I was never able to, which is odd, because if you know me, you know it doesn’t take much to get the waterworks going.

Baseball was an afterthought for me in 2001. I knew who most of the players on the Giants were in 2001 because I looked at the sports page every morning, but my passion for baseball as it is eleven years later was not as mature yet, a little before my time, if I may. My passion for baseball at the time was that of homerism, only caring about what the Giants did if I didn’t get to watch the game, and seeing if the Dodgers had lost. The fact that baseball had taken a break after the 9/11 attacks was a little sad for me because my life had revolved around sports, and with no sports on, the number of outlets to provide a break from the heartbreak of the attacks became less in number.

I was happy when sports started to resume, and if memory serves correct, the first game I turned on was the pre-game for the Yankees game when play resumed. I do not remember anything about that game, only feeling that it was important that at the very least I could dedicate some time to watching and sending out silent messages of hope to the people so incredibly affected by the terrible that happened days earlier.

Every year, the same memories come back, this day such a turning point in this generation’s American History. Patriotism was defined in a whole new way, and what the American flag meant to people that had not experienced this magnitude of conflict made each color of the American flag so much more vibrant, brightened by the pride and the hope they had in the country they resided in.

Baseball did not save me then as it would now if something like that happened today, but it was a welcome distraction, and for anyone that’s watched the Ken Burns documentary, you know baseball helped people cope. The embodiment of hope each season, each series, each game, each inning, each moment that baseball brings, it’s just so different than from any other sport I’ve watched. I know baseball did a lot of good for a lot of people, and as a side note I’m glad I’ve become closer to it now.

On this day, we remember what happened eleven years ago. We wish for the well-being of all that were affected, our thoughts with every creature on this Earth, our hope that no one is discriminated against and that these kinds of acts of terrorism never cross our paths again.

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