|'You Gotta Be Kidding!'|
by Mickey Charles CEO, sportsnetwork.com
Hatboro, PA (Sports Network) -- The world was put on hold on Tuesday, September 11th. Ironically, 9/11. When the Japanese embarked upon their sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, December 7th of that year, it was called a 'day of infamy' by then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The carnage that was wrought upon this country by another enemy, the terrorists that are harbored and supported by such countries as Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, was a moment of villainy, of depravity and a wicked degeneracy that disputes and disrupts all for which this country stands.
The world of sports became less than a grain of sand on that day.
Thousands of innocent people were murdered in a declaration of war on soil that had not witnessed a disaster of this magnitude in over 100 years. 'It can't happen here' was no longer part of our vocabulary. Our muscles were suddenly softened and the intrusion into our world questioned our security, strength, retaliatory capabilities and way of life. Families were made smaller, futures were suddenly gone, tears flowed from New York to Los Angeles and Americans bonded together as never before. Our backs stiffened and our anger heightened.
Sports were reduced to an afterthought, if at all.
New York must be rebuilt where terrorism has changed the landscape. Lives must be rebuilt where they have been torn asunder. Business must come out of the ashes to begin again. Buildings will go up where now there is rubble, twisted steel and small mountains of debris and ash. The resolve of a nation will become stronger and it will build greater capacities for internal growth with less reliance upon the rest of the world. Self-sufficiency will reach new heights.
Sports will resume, at some point, as more an act of continuance than joy.
Revenge and retribution will become mainstays of our society. An eye for an eye will be quoted infinitely more often than turn the other cheek. We have no more cheeks to turn. Our country has been tainted. We have been brought into the insanity that pervades society today. We have been spat upon as easily as one disposes of garbage. Supporters of these miscreants and gangsters danced in the streets as policemen, firemen and countless volunteers fought fires, falling remnants of buildings, continued disasters and sought out survivors and bodies. Body bags by the thousands were set aside for the dead and body parts. Yet, they danced in the streets and laughed.
Sports were no longer important. They were not even a blip on the radar screen.
Life was disrupted. A response is necessary. Lives have been shattered. Immediate action is requisite. The big player has to send a message that this will not be tolerated. We have no patience level at this stage of the game. When we strike we will make whatever was done to us seem insignificant by comparison. America will not be the same for a very long time. Perhaps never. Our focus and priorities have been altered. Adjustments to the ordinary are in order. Modifications in the usual are being conducted as you read this. We have been transformed. The nation, and its people, will not only survive, they will both be stronger. Promises and chest beating are insufficient. Declarations of determination and firmness of purpose, the fortitude and iron will of our citizenry, the tenacity and strength that is America are a 'given.'
And, sports become a pleasant diversion, entertainment, and a distraction from the process of rebuilding our country's psyche.
What about the rest of the world? Do they feel our pain? Do they believe that we are just a nation of playboys with more excess than is allowable? Is the resentment towards our way of life so great that the taking of innocent lives is the only way to show it? Will our allies weep with us?
In Toronto, Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian television commentator, spoke about the United States in touching words.
He said, 'This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth. Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts.
'None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States. When France was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it,' he said.
'When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped. The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, war mongering Americans.
'I'd like to see just one of those countries,' he continued, 'that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC10?
'If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International lines except Russia fly American Planes? Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy, and you find men on the moon - not once, but several times - and safely home again.
'You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here.
'When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke.
'I can name you 5000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.
'Our neighbors have faced it alone,' he concluded, 'and I'm one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those.
Stand proud, America! Wear it proudly!!'
Mr. Sinclair may be a minority outside of our borders but he paints a picture that dwarfs anything we know of in the world of sports. There is more to our world, much more. Sports are a wonderful thing, and we love what we do, but everything has to be put into perspective and we know that. We recognize it. We adhere to it.
When the Japanese were celebrating their attack on Pearl Harbor and, in retrospect, a hollow victory, various naval officers were congratulating the Admiral of the invasion fleet who responded somberly, from available historical reports, 'I fear that we have done nothing more than awaken a sleeping giant.'
Take a look around. See a nationwide landscape dotted with American flags. Watch people from everywhere making their way to New York to volunteer for everything from passing buckets of wreckage fragments, trash and refuse to helping search for victims that might still be alive within the mangled remains of