Friday, September 14, 2001
As we sift through the rubble and the waves of emotions surrounding Tuesday's unfathomable Attack on America, the world is at a standstill.
Though we all know life must go on, the question is when -- and for many, how.
When is it appropriate to resume our daily lives and, at the same time, demonstrate compassion for the fallen victims and their families?
How do we put behind us the graphic, almost fantasy-like images plastered all over television and newspapers?
How do we find joy in our pastimes when thousands of our countrymen are suffering through a shock greater than any 8-magnitude earthquake?
No one can definitively answer these questions, but we must fight through this agonozing series of events and realize that no matter what we do, history cannot be reversed.
In the dim light of these unprecedented terrorist attacks, the world of sports is also at a standstill.
Major League Baseball has postponed its entire slate of games through the weekend. The National Football League has cancelled all 15 games for week two. The NCAA has cancelled each and every Saturday football game.
The PGA has cancelled a tour event for the first time in over five years. The National Hockey League has put its preseason on the backburner. Major League Soccer chose to terminate the rest of its season.
The widespread response has been extremely moving, with each league stepping very carefully, not wanting to appear above the crisis at hand.
None of us are above the crisis, but together, we can rise above.
For this to happen, it is crucial for us to continue living our lives as normally as possible.
Just as life itself must go on, so must the world of sports.
The Oregon State Activities Association has realized this, and instead of mandating sweeping cancellations of high school sporting events this week, it has chosen to leave the decision in the hands of the individual communities.
If the OSAA had followed the lead of the many professional and college sports, it would have played right into the terrorists' plan to disrupt the lives of all Americans and damage our collective psyche.
Not to say that the NFL, MLB, PGA and NCAA weren't justified in postponing the week's events. These leagues are in the national and world spotlights, and must examine both the social and ethical implications behind their actions.
Each is a business that involves millions of people and millions of dollars, and a decision to cancel games is the right one.
So was the OSAA's decision to move forward and permit high school sporting events to continue. In the process, the OSAA has taken a formidable stand against terrorism by encouraging every community in Oregon to stand together in this time of crisis.
Pro sports, too, will pereservere, and will soon return to business as usual -- just not right now. These leagues have done the right thing by providing its players and associates with adequate time to grieve with the rest of the country.
Part of that healing process is for people in every community across America to resume normal lives. That includes soccer practices, cross-country meets and high-school football games.
If we allow an attack like this to make us question our safety or interrupt our daily routine, the enemy has won.
The OSAA has acted in good faith by encouraging high school competition to continue. Allowing high school and other youth sports to play on only helps demonstrate our unity as a country and as community members.
Tom Welter, OSAA Executive Director, put it best when he said, "Let's use the sense of community illustrated at high school events to begin the healing process."
We all hope to put these catastrophic events behind us, and the only way to successfully do that is to let life go on.