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VOL 3. NO. 35 Monday, September 17 - Sunday, September 23, 2001
"The Weekend After"
By Drew "The Truth" ALEXANDER
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 historical course.

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 ridethebench@metroconnection.info.

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