Now you can say you survived without pro sports |

Now you can say you survived without pro sports

Steve Yingling

Were you miserable? Did you find yourself watching the taped replay of last year’s Humanitarian Bowl? Or did you play the NFL week 2 schedule in its entirety through your good buddy John Madden? Perhaps you caved in and called your fantasy league rivals and drafted Canadian Football League players.

Ideally, you discovered that family isn’t Pat Summerall or Keith Jackson and you shared some healthy activity away from life’s biggest distraction.

If something good came out of last Tuesday’s terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Towers, it was that it reunited our country and reminded us how precious time with our family really is.

Until last weekend, the only place you could find an American flag was in a garage or at a garage sale. Now they are everywhere. On cars, atop buildings and hanging in front of every fifth home.

“I think this country has come together a lot … the way they’ve rallied around each other, the national symbol and Jesus Christ, too,” said STHS cross country coach Dominique Westlake, who took his team to the Nevada Union Invitational over the weekend in Grass Valley, Calif.

Losing sports for a week was a much better fate than the thousands of innocent workers and rescuers met inside the World Trade Center last Tuesday. But isn’t it interesting how we only shut down a part of our society in wake of such national tragedies? For most of America, it was work as usual last week. Almost immediately we turned to the sports world to determine how serious our tragedy was.

You have to look back to D-day on June 6, 1944 to find the last time Major League Baseball’s entire daily schedule was wiped out by a nonlabor problem. Following the suicide airline attacks, no more baseball was played last week.

STHS football coach Eric Beavers’ comment on to “Play or not to play” in Monday’s sports section was a unique point of view.

“How is that we look to sports to recognize a tragedy? Maybe sports are too important,” he proposed.

Movie theaters and casinos didn’t react to the tragedy like baseball and the NFL. Those industries barely flinched, offering uninterrupted entertainment without fear of being called unpatriotic or providing an unsafe gathering.

Obviously, if football and baseball players and their fans were worried about packing a 70,000-seat stadium, casino workers and gamblers should have been skeptical about crowding into a large hotel and casino.

Grief didn’t shut down our sports world last week? Security issues and an airline ban prevented the bigger events from taking place. Just look how many small college football games took place on Saturday. One hundred twenty-three games to be exact.

Heck, we didn’t interrupt our AYSO and prep schedules for even a day following the terrorism.

I don’t think some sports fans realized the gravity of the situation until the NFL shut down the country’s most popular sport for a weekend. No one really expected them, too, especially since Pete Rozelle played on in 1963 two days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

When the NFL postponed its games, all the other undecided sporting events followed neatly in line.

It was heartwarming to see NFL players at their stadiums Sunday collecting donations and to hear that the NFL Players Association was proposing that players donate one paycheck to the relief fund. All too often these guys get reputations as being greedy and causeless.

As sports returns to normal this week, the different leagues will have more respect and more supporters. After all, these games, more than anything else, told us that something was deadly wrong in our country last week.

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