9/11: Tragedy and Sports


I was laying out the sports section at The Robesonian newspaper in Lumberton, N.C., on Sept. 11, 2001. I don’t remember exactly who said what, but I found myself in front of the small TV in the break room watching one of the Twin Towers burn and smoke like a giant refinery chimney. I had to go back to my desk, but I returned after the second tower was hit. I honestly don’t remember if I made deadline that day; I’m sure the news side didn’t (it was an afternoon paper).

I remember it was a clear blue sky above us, just like it was in New York that day. I took some comfort in that for some reason, ironic though it was. Seven years later, I look outside and see blue skies again. It gives me hope that God has brighter days in store for this country.

Beyond the obvious shock and horror that everyone experienced, the tragedy gave all of us sports fans a jolt, gave us some perspective on athletics and its place in this country. It helped us realize that games aren’t all that important, but it also affirmed that sports is an important endeavor. Results mattered less than the mere act of playing and/or seeing others play. Many say sports has helped the healing process.

I’d like to know what y’all remember about that day, and how 9/11 might have re-shaped your perspective on sports.

“Sports, you see, really do matter. No, not the games themselves, not even the players—but the harmonizing effect of sports upon our society.” – Frank DeFord, Sports Illustrated


11 Responses to “9/11: Tragedy and Sports”

  1. theconquistador2 Says:

    I remember getting off the shuttle on frat row and walking in the house and seeing it on tv.

    I don’t know if 9-11 changed my perpestive on sports, but I’ve always looked at sports as kind of a way to escape the real world. I know when I’m at a game or even watching one on tv the last thing on my mind is gas prices, housing market, politics, etc. The only thing on my mind is why we’re losing. lol

  2. olemsufan Says:

    Im thinking that 9/11 should be a Holiday.
    God Bless America!

  3. Brad Locke Says:

    I had the same thought, olemsufan. Good idea.

  4. thingreenline Says:

    I was in Ornithology class when the teacher annouced it before he passed out a test. I also remember the memorial before the South Carolina game, which we totally blew and lost to a crappy Lou Holtz team.

    I disagree, olemusfan and Brad. We shouldn’t give 9/11 any more recognition than we do for the day of Pearl Harbor or when JFK was shot. The sorrow is still readily present b/c it was seven years ago. But, if we give 9/11 holiday-status (where folks actually get to take off work), then the terrorists win. It sounds corny, but it’s true. JMO.

  5. nashdawg Says:

    I remember sitting in my upstairs office at my home in TN. Looking out the large oval window across the way to the mountains looming in the distant morning sun, I felt a sense of awe in the quietness of my space that day. Shocked by the events unfolding on my television screen, my heart dropped at the moment of recognition, that indeed, this was a terrorist attack on our nation. I will never forget…

  6. carwwest Says:

    i was in a history class in my high school (wow didnt know it was that long ago)….i remember that day very well…we didnt do anything all day long…just watched the horror on tv and it didnt really hit me until pretty much the next day…i couldnt believe it actually happened…but my prayers still go out to all of those affected by it…i hope people never forget what happened…

  7. desertdog2005 Says:

    I was about to start my first semester at State. Me and one of my buddies just got out of the Marines and watched the events unfold from his house in Mississippi. We lost a good brother from the Marines that day – he worked in the towers. We saw another on of our Marine brothers (Sgt. Thomas) that just got out a few months before us help look for people in the rubble. If you have ever watched ABC’s Extreme HomeMakeover-they did an episode about him and his family post 9/11 struggles. To say it still angers me would be an understatement. To make it a national holiday would further encourage spineless weasel bleeping terrorist to attack this nation. I mourn and pray for families that have lost love ones on 9/11 as well as I mourn for my fellow Mississippians that were lost while we were over in Iraq. God bless you and may the Lord watch over your families.

  8. Brad Locke Says:

    Fair points, TGL and desertdog.

  9. imabulldog Says:

    I was in JCollege, and I had over slept my for my class that morning, but I awoke to see those terrible events unfolding. Man…

    It showed me that God has placed more important things in our lives, and just to enjoy the freedoms of actually being able to live in a country where we can enjoy things like sports that we are so passionate about

  10. tebmsu97 Says:

    For some reason the thing that will always stand out to me about 9/11 was a quote from some military person in washington. I don’t know who he was, other than a very high ranking officer. The truth of the whole thing didn’t set in until I heard him say “Dear God, they have scrambled jets over washington…” Not why that particular moment put it all into focus for me, but it is still gives me the heebie jeebies when I think about it.

    It hasn’t really changed how I feel about sports, there are little things everyday which remind me how little the outcome of a football game means to my life, but for that 3-4 hour span I get to forget all that.

  11. morecowbell Says:

    I was on campus at MSU in Accounting class when the first tower was hit, saw the second tower hit at Allen Hall. I just went to the apartment and the rest of the day was a blur. The TV was on and all the news stories were reported. One thing that sticks with me were all the hospitals who had set triage up outside the emergency rooms and were waiting for the rush of patients to come and they kept waiting… sad. I remember playing South Carolina after that and being in the stands before the game in a moment of silence when a local starkville man screamed out “Go to Hell Bin Ladin!” and the cheers that followed… feel that way 7 years later. I listened to the special segements created to remember and realized that I still feel just as angry about it today as 7 years ago, but time has made it fade some.

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