On The (At-Least-Potentially) Unifying Power of Sports in Light of the Events of 9-11-01
By Ken K. Gourdin
For more of my thoughts in commemoration of that tragic, fateful day, see the following links (last accessed today):
Professor/Brother Dan Peterson of BYU posted a link to the unveiling of the helmets BYU’s football team will be wearing in tonight’s game to commemorate the events of 9/11/01 on his blog (last accessed today): http://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2014/09/in-preparation-for-tomorrow-nights-byu-football-game.html. I responded:
I don’t know which is cooler, those helmets, or the appropriately-grave, appropriately-subdued reactions of the young men who will be wearing them. To be sure, as ardently as we might follow our team, such grave events as what happened on 9/11/01 make the outcome of sporting contests (that we, as fans, often treat as life-or-death affairs) insignificant. (And that, of course, is a serious understatement.) Still, one of the positive things that came out of 9/11 is the fact that, for example, even Red Sox fans showed solidarity with their Yankee counterparts (and the reverse happened after the Boston Marathon Bombing, as even Yankee fans became “Boston Strong”).
That having been said, one of the things that reassured my mom that, as grave as the events of 9/11 were, life could still carry on as (relatively) normal for those who were not directly affected was the opportunity of watching a Utah Jazz game. And another positive that I think came out of it is that the performance of the national anthem became something more than a preliminary to be dispensed with as quickly as possible so we could get on with the “real” reason why everyone came to a sporting event: rather, it was more an exercise in national unity and solidarity.