Archive for Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Chinstraps and Mouthpieces

Sports fans now rooting for real America’s team

September 19, 2001

It was a frustrating day. A large crowd came to Memorial Stadium on Sept. 8 and watched UCLA take on Kansas in Lawrence. After what looked to be an energized start for the Jayhawks, their offense was horrendous and Kansas lost 41-17 in a game that could be a preview of the rest of the season.

The frustration of sticking with this team for years was magnified. Sure, the 'Hawks faced the No. 14 Bruins, but they've had four losing seasons after an impressive 10-2 record in 1995.

It's amazing how three days later I was thankful I had the chance to attend a part of American culture. I felt ashamed on Tuesday that I was so bothered by a football game just three days before.

As the nation tries to regroup, I kept thinking sports needed to be played as a way to celebrate America and slowly move on. Baseball showed respect for the tragedy by postponing games. It probably didn't hurt for security reasons, either. Division1 college football and the NFL have followed suit. This was a bad move, I thought. Enough time had passed, but had it? The smoke still hasn't cleared in New York.

In retrospect, the week off on the national level was smart. When major athletics resume play, those who died in New York will be remembered throughout the year with moments of silence and patches on jerseys.

Now it's time to inform those responsible for the attacks that, for lack of a better phrase, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Too many innocent lives have been lost, but it has brought the nation together.

It's time for the nation to continue helping New York through whatever measures necessary. And maybe now sports can resume and we can celebrate what also makes us America. In sports, tailgating near Memorial Stadium comes to mind. The home of the Jayhawks honors students who lost their lives in World War I.

Local residents who watched their children grow up and play for Tonganoxie High now have grandchildren who they hope will make a big play for the Chieftains this year. In October, people will hopefully be taking in the national pastime, crowding around televisions for the World Series. All of these ingredients are just small factors in making America beautiful.

Last week's events will never be forgotten. If events in the future warrant more cancellations, there's no reason games shouldn't be called.

Obviously many Americans take sports a little too seriously from time to time myself included. But it's also a common ground Americans have. Patriotism in times of distress is no different.

Unfortunately, with the recent attack on our country, it's difficult to tell who the opponent truly is, but the marching band is playing the fight song, and our school colors are red, white and blue.

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