Monday, September 12, 2011

Youth Sports: Remembering the Days After 9 - 11

As I watched the Jets game last night and I was pleased by the sight of players running onto the field with American flags for pre-game introductions. The sight of this flooded my memories of the days following the 9 - 11 attacks.

It was September 16, 2001, the day after my birthday, a birthday that I was in no mood to celebrate. 


It was a typical Sunday in September for me in many ways. 


I got up around 6am. 


I watched the news. 


I made my game plan for the soccer game that would be played in the afternoon despite some calling for the league to postpone it like the NFL and MLB did.


I made scrambled eggs and bacon for my family.


We all went to church.


After Church, my son and I went to the hardware store and I bought 12 American Flags. 


We then went to the field. 


The players and parents starting assembling. 


The kids changed into their cleats while parents set up their folding chairs on the sidelines. 


The refs arrived.


We went through the normal warm up routine. 


About 10 minutes before the game, I called the team together. 


I handed each one of them a small American flag. 


I told them that the ref was going to call them to the circle in the middle of the field and they were expected to assemble on the circle alternating every other spot with their opponent.


I informed them that we would all observe a moment of silence with heads down and flags held high and proud. I told them all to run across the field after the moment of silence is done and give their flag to their mom or dad. 


One kid said, "Really coach, the other team doesn't have flags. I'm not doing that."


I told the malcontent kid, "you live in the greatest country in the world and the best thing about it is that you have the freedom to do basically what you want to do, so if you don't want to carry the flag that's ok. But, we all enjoy these freedoms and I have the freedom to sit your butt on the bench for the entire game and I will just that if you don't join your teammates at the center of the field."


The two teams assembled. My entire team held the flags high (some higher than others) and then the kids delivered the flags to their parents. 



The whistle blew.


The parents waved their flags. 


The game ended in a tie.


After the game, I realized that youth games were still going to be played, some kids were still going to be clueless punks and life, for the most part, was going to be normal again.

The Main Point

Thankfully God blessed us with sports in those days after the tragic events to unite us and to help us heal. We will never forget. God Bless America.

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