Normally, we see sports as entertainment. Rarely do we look to them as part of a healing process. In reality, there are many cases where that is the situation. Sports, whether you're watching them or playing them, can help to deal with the most painful of times.
North Carolina and Duke, considered by many to be the best NCAA Basketball rivalry. Best friends will stop talking, neighbors will spray paint the opposing logo on lawns, and, of course, there is the trash talk. However, this past year, it meant so much more. Just days before the big game, North Carolina student body president, Eve Carson, was murdered. Any such tragedy is just that, tragic. There is no way to completely overcome something like that.
North Carolina and Duke are only seperated by five miles, so this not only affected North Carolina students, but Duke students and the communities around both schools as well. People now had to be more careful when they went places. They were thrown into a state of fear and needed something to turn to that could take their minds off of their pain and worries. What better way to do that, then to play the greatest rivalry in NCAA Basketball?
The game was held on Duke's homecourt, Cameron Indoor Stadium. We all know about the famed Cameron Crazies, but they, along with everyone else in that building, held a moment of silence in remembrance of Eve Carson. Bitter enemies to the end, everyone in that building knew how important that long moment was for the healing process of the entire community. The game was then played. Normally fueled by hate and pride, that night, for North Carolina, was fueled by student body president Eve Carson. North Carolina ended up winning the game but much more important then that, they helped the fans and students to take their minds off of a terrible tragedy.
I don't know about you, but even the mention of the date, September 11, 2001, brings pain to my heart. Sitting in my seventh grade math class and watching those planes crash into the World Trade Center buildings was the most gut wrenching experience I've ever had. Nothing I've experienced has even compared to how I felt that day. I'm sure that most of you feel the same way about this. Most of you can remember where you were when it happened. This is not easy to write about and looking at the images of baseball's return, causes tears to well up in my eyes.
September 17, 2001 - Baseball returns.
After taking a week off, baseball makes a return. People were packed into the ball parks and were cheering their teams on with more passion then they had before. Ceremonies honoring our fallen heroes were held in every ballpark in the country. People cried, even our sometimes Godlike athlets showed their emotions. Everyone was affected by that black day in American history and needed somewhere to turn to for comfort. What is a better option then America's Pastime?
The American public needed a way to take our minds off of the blackest day in our history. There had never been an attack that brought us to our knees and made us feel this hopeless. An attack on the civilians of a country is inexcusable and we all knew it and had that empty feeling in our stomach. Baseball was really the only way for us to block out our worries and fears, if only for a few hours. The parks were packed with people and the players all knew how important it was for them to show class and give the people what they wanted, just a normal baseball game. No feuds, no revenge tactics, and nothing to degrade the great game.
The Yankees and Mets both were playing away series at the time of baseball's return, but when they came back, it was the same as with other parks. There was not a spare seat to be found. These two teams were the biggest part of this healing process. New Yorkers were affected more then the rest of the country. Other people around the country were obviously affected and lost loved ones, but the epicenter was in New York. I'm sure that many people in Yankee and Shea stadium had lost loved ones and needed to be in those buildings to take their minds off of their horrible loss. America's Pastime was a huge part of the healing process of a country.