Monday, September 17, 2001 marks the day that the United States has finally recovered from the shock (and apparently tragic) of terrorist attacks on New York. Today (Monday) marks the day because it is also the first day since the attacks that there will be any live sporting events aside from Canadian Interuniversity Athletics (CIS) and the CART racing series.Suspending athletic competition for the day of or day after the attack was a no brainer but an entire week is absolutely ludicrous. It is quite apparent that the intention of the attacks was to change the American way of life. Well, by cancelling everything and putting the nations day-to-day events on hold the Americans did exactly what the terrorists wanted them to do. You see, if the sports schedule returned to its original form within a day or so, it would be a sign that the United States, although affected, are not going to collapse as a nation over this tragedy. What is even more important to understand is the magnitude of such a decision. It is ironic to think about the fact that several historical events may not occur because of the way in which the United States reacted to an historical event, if that makes any sense?
Take for example Barry Bonds’ quest to beat Mark McGwire’s home run record of 70. With the stoppage in play, Bonds is now in jeopardy of being denied such a feat because of how Major League Baseball will handle the remaining season. There is preliminary speculation that the games lost during the past week may be lost forever. That is to say that if no rescheduling takes place Bonds will be denied six or seven games worth of plate appearances. If he does break the record even with seven games missing his accomplishment will probably appear with an asterisk beside it in the record book. A notation that often brings about criticism and lack of respect. Although one would hope that in this situation people would recognize that the accomplishment may have been even greater if Bonds was able to play the entire schedule.
The decision to cancel all major sporting events brought with it societal strife as well. Maybe not on a physical front but certainly on an emotional one. Many people turn to events like sports in an attempt to combat the everyday rush of life. For many, sports are an avenue for escapism. Although it would have been difficult for the athletes to play with such emotional strain, it would have been for the best to return to regular scheduling after a brief relief period.
The continuation of the sport schedule would give Americans and other concerned people from around the globe an opportunity to turn off CNN’s 50-millionth hour of live footage of the dust from the towers and enjoy the passionate combat of football; or the camaraderie and strategy of a baseball game, or the jubilant cheer of the crowd when John Walton shoots 180 in the Embassy World Darts Championship.