|In my lifetime I've felt joy and pain and through it all I've shed plenty of
tears. But, the sudden devastation that happened in my native New York City
and my new home, Washington D.C., this past week has left me numb, confused,
and angry. September 11th, 2001 will be a day this nation will never forget.
It's a day that I hoped my generation would never have to see. I prayed that
the images that have been on the news for the past week would be left only on
the pages of a Hollywood script. Unfortunately, how we sometimes wish things
to be, do not always happen that way.
For the past week - like many of you - I've been glued to the television set
and shaken by all the destruction. Life as we know it is over. Our lives
have been changed drastically. Our feeling of security is terribly
jeopardized. And the area where once stood two of America's biggest monuments
is now labeled as "Ground Zero." Now it's time for healing.
Hopefully, by expressing this I won't seem cold hearted in any way, but I for
one need something else to help with my healing process. I've turned to music
to try and drown some of my own pain and to help me reflect. But to see a
Sunday afternoon football game would make me feel some normalcy. Not because
I want to forget, but instead I need a moment to step outside of all the
pain, suffering and devastation. We've all had these images embedded in our
memories and then reinforced by every channel for the past five days 24 hours
a day. Washington Post staff writer Howard Kurtz put it best in the September
14 edition of his "Media Notes" column: "Will the networks please - please -
stop showing the planes crashing into the World Trade Center as scene-setters
for their opening credits? As "bumpers" before commercial breaks? As video
wallpaper while talking heads are being interviewed? As a split-screen
diversion while Ari Fleischer is briefing reporters?
"The sheer repetition trivializes and dehumanizes the tragedy as we watch the
fireball again and again, the towers collapsing again and again, the people
dying again and again."
I can dig that, because I'm feeling where Kurtz is coming from. Enough of
that - let's begin parting with the pain, people. Our minds can only take so
much before our reaction may be out of our own control.
With the suspended football games this Sunday, I am again reminded of all
that is going on with little or no outlet for rebuilding my sense of security
and confidence beyond casual channel clicks into Nickelodeon or The Cartoon
Network. And that's not to say that I don't appreciate the magnitude of the
situation. I do: we're on the cusp of what could amount to a Third World
War. But, as a matter of therapy, we all need only three hours to replace
the many days of anger, frustration and shot nerves we've felt. I understand
that I do - yet, I also understand that's much more difficult for the
victims. But, without sounding or being insensitive, it's important to let
me know that no matter what happens, I live in a country that is determined
to not be a victim. I live in a country that won't allow evil intentions to
take us on a wrong turn, or alter our way of life or throw us off our
If only for three hours I can step outside and feel like there is a tomorrow.
It's strange: sometimes, you have to stop and realize how the little things
can mean so much - like that first down or that play when all bases are
loaded. Those games will no doubt be replaced by more news coverage (can you
imagine how absolutely crude it would be if John Madden started showing
replays of the World Trade Center attack?) and these same images - to be sure
- we won't soon forget. But, of course not: we shouldn't.
I am proud, however, of how the sporting community has come together to help
during this great tragedy. Teams like the New York Giants, New York Jets, and
the Washington Redskins have volunteered their time and money to assist with
the rebuilding effort.
In the wake of this tragedy we've realized how minute our personal problems
are. I know our lives will probably never be the same again, but hopefully by
the beginning of the week we will have the strength to move on and regain a
foothold on our lives - especially as we face full-scale war.
My heart and every tear goes out to all those lost. This week begins a new
chapter and we will continue on as the men and women who write it. Let's
continue being strong, confident and united. And let's make sure our fears
RIDE THE BENCH.
To comment on this or any other column by Drew "The Truth" Alexander, email