Perhaps more than anything, in the sporting sense that is, the events of this past Sept. 11 taught us that the games we pay professional men and women so much money to play are really nothing more than that'games.
When tragedy struck our nation's capitol and its biggest city one year ago today, events like Barry Bonds' home-run record chase and who the Pack were playing that weekend suddenly seemed insignificant. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig promptly canceled all scheduled games that day'the first time since D-Day in 1944 that an entire day of regular season play had been wiped out'and when interviewed the following day, he expressed uncertainty as to when play would again resume.
All college and professional football games that following weekend were also postponed, and a nation spent a fall Saturday and Sunday mourning the loss of loved ones and glued to the TV watching the news rather than football.
As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of these events, or Patriot's Day, as President Bush would now like us to call it, it would be wrong to say that our country is now at peace. Young men are still stationed in Afghanistan trying to hunt down the elusive Osama bin Laden and as each day progresses, President Bush strives to rally more and more support for an invasion of Iraq.
Sept. 11, 2002, though, will most likely be very different than Sept. 11, 2001. Baseball games will be played'with a moment of silence held at each night game at 9:11 p.m. local time to honor those who died'and focus has once again started to turn towards football and other sporting events.
The NFL opened up its regular season this weekend with an address by President Bush and a rendition of \America the Beautiful"" by the Marine Corps band. Baseball endured the strike deadline and has found itself with a bona fide pennant race. In the three weeks left, six teams remain very much in the running for the four available AL spots'among which include a team that wasn't even supposed to be here this year and another with the league's 28th highest payroll.
It is, in many respects, a great time to be a sports fan. The Badgers and the Packers are both undefeated, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi renewed tennis' greatest rivalry this past weekend and it appears that America's team can barely even call themselves Texas' team anymore.
Sports have once again begun to steal the spotlight and the fact that we can celebrate and enjoy these ""games"" means we are once again living our lives the way we want to.