Sports and Society: Despite the Tragedy, Remember and Let Go

Dexter RogersCorrespondent ISeptember 11, 2011

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 11:  A logo commemorating 9/11 is painted on the field as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Detroit Lions in the season opener at Raymond James Stadium September 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Ten years ago I was attending the US Open as a fan in New York: Today I am here covering the tournament as a journalist.  I must say there are memories galore.

Ten years ago I flew home September 10th from a great trip watching fantastic tennis and enjoying the city.  The next day I awoke to a phone call from a college friend who simply said, “Turn on the TV!”

I turned the television on CBS where I watched the events of the terrorists attacks unfold.  I was bewildered to say the least.  Of all the places in the world, I was there a day before these unfortunate events took place. 

The woman I was dating at the time had a sister who worked on the 98th floor of the second tower of the World Trade Center.  There were some tense moments indeed until later in the afternoon we got word from the family she was fine but certainly not dandy.

For the next two days the nation and the world was in a collective shock.  What was typical and normal was now turned upside down.  Now America was faced with establishing a new sense of normal because many citizens simply did not feel safe.

Today also takes me back 15 years ago where I attended the Olympic Games in Atlanta.  There was a bomb set off at Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta.  It was a shock to everyone.  Lives were lost, people were scared and it was a terrible event.  Sadly the event is rarely even discussed today because people have moved on.

Before continuing I am not comparing the events of 9/11 to what transpired at the Olympics in 1996.  Many lives were lost in an orchestrated attempt to alter the American way of life with the terrorists’ attacks.

With the ten-year anniversary of the attacks it brings back horrid memories but invariably it is a time to reflect, remember and move on.

We cannot continue to live in the past.  The time has come to remember what was and continue to build a new tomorrow by establishing a new normal.

Sports happen to play an integral role in the fabric of American life.  When the attacks transpired 10 years ago the institution of sports helped us move forward and temporarily suspend the horrific tragedy of the terrorists’ attacks.

Ironically the New York Jets, The New York Yankees and the New York Mets were all in action shortly after attacks occurred.  It is okay to mourn, get angry, and point fingers.  But after all of that subsides the right hand of the clock continues to move to the right. 

Time waits on no one.

Despite its flaws, American sport is a beautiful institution.  It provides us the opportunity to relax from the rigors of everyday life and sometimes deal with tragedy. 

When turmoil strikes my world I have a tendency to wallow in the temporary comfort of what was, but after a short time I simply move forward. 

Fear restricts the mind, body and spirit.  It prevents you from living your best life and putting you best foot forward.  Believe me, I speak from experience. 

I am in the midst of dealing with the most devastating loss of my life.  My best friend, who happens to be my mother, passed away weeks ago under dubious circumstances.  From a personal standpoint it kills me inside because of the loss, yet time will not stand still for me or anyone else.  Even though the memories of what were occupy my mind, I know within my heart I must move on and remember the good times.

Whether it is the 9/11 terrorists attacks, our favorite team losing a game, or more importantly losing someone dear to your heart the show must go on.

History shows we moved on from Pearl Harbor, therefore American will invariably bounce back from 9/11.

In sports there are countless precedents where teams have moved on from a devastating loss only to rebound in the future and right the ship.

There is a major part of me not wanting to be at the US Open because of my personal tragedy, yet despite the latter I must continue to move forward.

The formula for moving on in life is simple yet painful: Remember, continue to live and let go. 

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