Today is Sept. 11, 2009. Chances are, however, your mind is on Sept. 11, 2001.
Mine is. Whose isn’t?
Forgetting about it is futile — and disrespectful to the thousands of Americans who lost their lives that day in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa. And it’s disrespectful to the friends and relatives left in their wake, those forced to forge forward armed with nothing more than memories and photographs.
I don’t want to forget what happened eight years ago. But I want to focus on something good. Tonight, we have something good — high school football.
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Sounds trivial, right? Sounds wrong, doesn’t it? Sounds like I’m trying to say a bunch of games will assuage all the pain and confusion and the indelible wound we all suffered on that infamous Tuesday.
That’s not the case.
Rather, in times like these, and on a day like this, we need to be reminded of the positives.
Enter high school football. Or better yet, sports.
I’ve often bristled when people minimize sports’ role in society, wondering why some choose to view athletics as nothing more than a mindless, meat-headed activity that frowns upon everything intellectual.
Think about what sports does. It brings people of different walks of life and forces them to work together toward a common goal. It preaches teamwork, about being there for the guy or girl next to you when things aren’t going their way, knowing they too will be there for you.
Sports is all about being there for each other.
And we’re not just talking about the guys on the field. It’s nice to glance into the bleachers on Fridays and see people wearing the same-colored jersey, cheering — or, in some cases, booing — in unison.
It’s the games that bring people together. It’s the games that get people talking. And it’s the games that tonight will refresh us and remind us about the good that lies ahead, even if our memories will be temporarily shrouded in sadness.
Today, there will be mourning. There will be children who lost parents, parents who lost children, husbands who lost wives, wives who lost husbands and thousands who lost friends eight years ago.
High school football won’t them back or erase those awful images of commandeered airplanes crashing into buildings and sullying a sunny morning in New York City.
Sept. 11, 2001 happened. We’ll never forget it. Nor should we.
But we shouldn’t stop living, either, even if the healing process is a neverending work in progress.
Tonight, scattered in football stadiums scattered across the area, thousands will take another step forward.
And it’s a step they will take together.