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Way More Than A Game

In Politics, Sports on September 1, 2011 at 11:41 am

by: Eric Buenning

The end of the NFL Lockout was obviously a huge relief to football fans across the globe.  It was important to have a season for many reasons.  For selfish and well….selfish reasons, we all get fantasy football back.  I still can’t explain why it is such a hit, but that is a topic for another day.  The real reason we needed football this year is because of what happened ten years ago from next Sunday (NFL Kickoff Weekend).

The morning of September 11th, 2001 began just like any other.  Residents of New York remember that it was a gorgeous day.  That all changed in the matter of 15 minutes.  As we all know, Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower at 8:46 a.m. and Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower at 9:02 a.m.

The sounds and images from then on are something that nobody who was old enough at the time to remember will ever forget.  Everyone knows where they were, who told them, and what their reaction was.

Look, nobody will forget the horror and chaos they witnessed that day.  But there is another image I will never forget, and that is why next Sunday is all the more important.

Quick history lesson: who remembers Chris Gizzi?

What? Nobody? Well, Chris Gizzi was a member of the Air Force who also happened to be a Green Bay Packer at the time.  In the first televised Monday Night Football game after the attacks, Gizzi was asked to run out the American Flag in front of the time to rile up the crowd.  He did exactly that, and the images is something we should also never forget.  After all the disaster that took place earlier that month, to see Gizzi run that flag out and to hear the collective cheer of every single fan in that stadium in support of something more than football…you can’t top those emotions.  You just can’t. For that moment in time, creeds, races, personalities, EVERYTHING was united.  We were one nation.  We stood together.  It was amazing to see.

And now we’re already approaching the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, and what just happened in the NFL?  We barely got the preseason started on time because of millionaires and billionaires  fighting over who gets billions of dollars.  However, it ended in a way that reminds us of the Chris Gizzi night.  The players (Jeff Saturday) and the owners (Robert Kraft) finally came to an agreement, ending it all in an embrace (okay, the embrace wasn’t really about getting the deal done, it was more of a thank you to Kraft’s perseverance while losing his wife Myra during the negotiations).  Still, the two sides were united.  It seemed like they were together all along.  What a more fitting way to go into this memorial season.

Although we will never, ever forget everything involved with September 11th, 2001, we can at least take solace in realizing how far we’ve come since then.  Obviously, we have our military members, firefighters, police officers, and just about every citizen out there to thank for getting us through one of our greatest American disasters.  But we also have moments like the Chris Gizzi one to hold on to.  In a way, we have football to thank.  It is the sport of survival, perseverance, and unity.  10 years after 9/11, I can’t think of a better way to spend it.

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