Baseball shines light

The planes that struck the twin towers and the Pentagon temporarily paralyzed this nation, and the sporting world responded.

Our country was stunned after terrorists attacked the United States roughly 10 years ago. Sports shut down as every level ceased action immediately.

There were no Friday night-lights flickering over the Thousand Oaks football field, no catchers’ mitts popping at Chavez Ravine. Athletics came to a screeching halt as everyone searched high and low looking for answers.

Sunday night, we all got the collective answer we yearned for: bin Laden is dead.

At about 8 p.m. locally, while I was watching the Mets – Phillies baseball game at work, the crowd of roughly 30,000 people in attendance started chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A.” My phone, vibrating every other minute at this point, started receiving text messages reading: “We got him! We got bin Laden!”

As jubilation swept across the stadium on television, and as shots were being poured in celebration across the bar, I took a moment to look the scene over and reflect upon what I was witnessing; or in other words, what we’ve been missing.

It’s easy to forget how united we were as a country during the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Everyone’s hearts and minds were fixated upon New York City and Washington D.C. in that trying time.

Major League Baseball suspended it’s season for five days to let the country recover, losing roughly a billion dollars in the process.

We turned to athletics in an attempt to find some kind of solace in something familiar to us. Fans afterward wanted something more from their athletes than just another game.

We wanted to be uplifted somehow, some way, to both forget and remember at the same time. We wanted to be reminded that sports can heal and inspire, that sports were still a dominant part of the American spirit.

Games resumed Sept. 16, a day that was filled with the kind of patriotism usually reserved for the 4th of July or Memorial Day.

The game of baseball is called our “National Pastime” for a reason.

How many of you remember throwing the ball around in the backyard with Pop during a warm summer afternoon feeling like you were on top of the world?

After watching what transpired Sunday night at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia, it put everything into perspective. Our compassion for those who lost their lives on that sunny September morning is still just as strong as ever; it’s just been dormant for a while.

“Who are our real heroes?” is still the question that gets fearfully lost sometimes during this the technological age where the selfish unfortunately outweigh the selfless.

Athletes making millions of dollars shouldn’t hold a candle to those who risked their lives, and in some cases gave their lives to capture and kill the most infamous villain walking the planet.

The scene in Philly yesterday reminded me to take pride in who I am, and not to forget that I’m lucky to be an American.