Home Sports Local Sports Gone but not forgotten — but I did forget

Gone but not forgotten — but I did forget

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A University of Tennessee at Chattanooga ROTC Cadet carries at the American Flag recalling police officers lost in 9/11 past the rising sun in Chattanooga, Tenn. From 6 a.m. until 5:00, on Sept. 11, 2019, the American Flag, carried by members of the Military Science Department at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, students and staff, continuously circled Chamberlain Field on the University’s campus in commemoration of 9/11. (Robin Rudd/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)

My life is simple and yes, it’s pretty great actually. Not as good as the people on ESPN that get paid to wear makeup and talk sports — no, my job is to go to games and write about sports and design pages for the readers of Roswell and Chaves County. I just wrote a gamer about a Goddard-Roswell volleyball game on Tuesday night.

My mom is a school teacher and I get to see her every day. I can’t complain, and well, I shouldn’t complain because life happens.

As I rushed through my Tuesday night, getting the game written and the layout of the sports page right as deadline approached — my managing editor Misty Choy gave us the thumbs up on the sports section — I felt a release from the adrenaline that goes with writing and being on deadline.

Once we were good, I went home, read and watched SportsCenter, forgetting about Tuesday and what had happened. It was on to Wednesday. I never gave it a thought about the significance of Wednesday and what it meant. It wasn’t until I got to work and checked my Twitter feed to catch up on the national and local sports scene, and then it dawned on me: As Fred Sanford used to say, “You Big Dummy.” Hello, 9/11 happened 18 years ago.

I didn’t want to forget, just as I don’t think a lot of other people in life want to forget something as traumatic, something that shook America to her core. It seems that as time goes on, people forget, not because they want to, but because life happens.

Many people are just trying to get through the day — either emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually — and remembering that incident put us in a guarded state where we as people — we don’t want to go again.

Most people can remember who they were with, what they were doing and what they were going through when those planes collided into the Twin Towers and tried to take down America’s way of life. Those planes took America’s way of innocence  — who would think anyone would try to destroy who we are as a country and the things we stand for?

I didn’t lose anybody during those attacks, but I did. Whether I knew them or not, I lost a brother who will never be able to go home and tell his wife and kids that he loves them. I lost a mother/sister who will not wrap her arms around her babies and watch them grow up or graduate from high school and college, and most of all, see the legacy she left behind in having grandchildren.

On that day, I lost a part of me that believes all is right with the world and can be again. Now, every time I fly on a plane or go to Canada, I see the repercussions of 9/11 and what effects it has had, not only on my life, but all Americans. It is hard not to be jaded after seeing the changes to our way of life. Because of 9/11, life and sports are not normal — now or forever.

I’m sure that everybody can remember what they were doing when those attacks happened — many school teachers were probably in class, and my mother was watching it on TV in her classroom in Ohio. Life was surreal and stood still. Many people can remember how sports was, what they had, and needed — to heal.

During that time, sports was a healer and helper for Americans. When the athletes played those games, it said, tragedy happens, but we’re American Strong and you cannot take away the things we love and that’s playing a game for two hours and competing.

Who can forget the emotions displayed on Oct. 30, 2001, in game three of the World Series? President George Bush walking to the mound in Yankee Stadium to throw out the ceremonial first pitch as the New York Yankees took on the Arizona Diamondbacks. As Bush was walking, all anyone could hear was the crescendo of the New York fans chanting USA! USA! USA!

Bush stepped to the rubber and threw a strike to the catcher as the crowd erupted.

“I’ve been to conventions, rallies and speeches,” Bush said. “I’ve never felt anything so powerful, and the emotion so strong, and the collective will of the crowd so evident.”

Americans rallied around their favorite team, first responders, firefighters, policemen, good Samaritans, and the military, who were given their due for risking their lives and for caring about other human beings’ welfare above their own. Isn’t that the principle this country was founded upon?

As we remember 9/11, remember the good in human beings and the healing nature sports has provided for Americans to get through their pain. I apologize for almost forgetting, or else this column would have been written and read on 9/11.

I’m sure that I’m not the only one that forgot Wednesday. There is a coach out there concerned with Friday night, or a businessman out there trying to close a deal. There’s a college student out there that is interning somewhere trying it keep it together, and there are college students with papers and projects due that might have forgotten.

What’s important is that we (Americans) remember now and not try to let forgetting become a habit, and that we do not let those 2,792 lives be in vain.

“Remember the hours after September 11th when we came together as one to answer the attack against our homeland. We drew strength when our firefighters ran upstairs and risked their lives so that others might live; when rescuers rushed into smoke and fire at the Pentagon; when the men and women of Flight 93 sacrificed themselves to save our nation’s Capitol; when flags were hanging from front porches all across America, and strangers became friends. It was the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us.”

— Sen. John Kerry

 

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.