Duderstadt reflects on tragedy’s impact to sports

Story by Christopher

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There are not many days of my childhood that I remember vividly, but Sept. 11, 2001 is definitely a memory I still have.

It started out to feel like just another average day in the life of a fifth-grader, but once the word of the terrorist attack spread around the school, nothing else seemed to matter.

Although the teachers at the elementary school I attended did not tell the students much about what happened, I was able to figure out myself that evening that the attack was a big deal by watching television.

After watching coverage of what happened on the major news networks, I started watching Sports Center being the sports geek that I am.

Reality then hit me much harder.

There was no sports coverage on ESPN because of the attack.

Not only was there no sports coverage but the National Football League and Major League Baseball postponed games until further notice.

At that moment I began to realize the sporting events that were scheduled for the upcoming days were irrelevant.

The friends and family of the 3,000 or so people who lost their lives that day and the safety of the United States of America were the only two things that mattered.

It was not a time to play, watch or care about sports. It was a time to mourn and to come together as a country.

After six days passed and 91 MLB games had been canceled, it was time to start playing the game known as America’s past time again. Even though the baseball season resumed, the games did not seem to have as much significance despite some close playoff races. The National Anthem before the game and God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch seemed to be the loudest the fans would be during every game.

The 2001 season ended up having a very exciting ending, but even it didn’t seem fitting. As much as I despised everything about the New York Yankees, it felt like them winning a fifth straight world series might help the city and the rest of the nation recover from the attack in a small sense. The Yankees lost the World Series to the Arizona Diamondbacks on a walk-off bloop single by Luis Gonzalez.

As for the NFL, it moved back the first day of games one week to Sept. 23. Just like any other Kansas City Chiefs fan, I was excited for their first game. The Chiefs opened up the season at home against the New York Giants.

Normally, I would cheer against the Giants as well since I did not support any sports teams from New York, but the game felt different again.

The play-by-play announcers were not analyzing the game as critically as they normally would. Instead, they were busy listing organizations to donate money or other items to help out those affected by the tragedy.

The cameramen focused their attention on the firemen boots being passed around Arrowhead Stadium to collect donations for the New York City Fire Department. I honestly don’t remember which team even won.

Sports play a big role in my life as a fan and an athlete, but Sept. 11, 2001 and the days that followed taught me that I should be more thankful to be an American than being a sports fan or an athlete.