Sunday, September 11, 2011

Memories of 9/11, And How The Mets Helped A City Heal

Ten years ago today, I was in tenth grade, sitting in my french class. As it goes with most high school teenagers, rumors spread. Stories get mangled. On this early Tuesday morning, a few students had heard a rumor that a plane had hit Twin Towers. You see, Twin Towers was the name of the middle school up the street. All rumors were quickly put to rest when our principal began relaying the mornings events over the loud speaker.

Not one, but two planes had hit the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan, and by 10:28 a.m., they were gone.

I remember trying to wrap my head around what was happening. News soon began to filter in about the planes. One flight in particular grabbed my attention: United Airlines Flight 93. Long before it was known about the heroics which took place on that flight, there was one fact which caught my eye. Flight 93 was scheduled to leave Newark International Airport that morning.

That morning, before I left for school, I had said goodbye to my mom. She was flying out of Newark that day. It wasn't until I heard this news that I realized I couldn't remember what time my mom's flight was. That afternoon my volleyball coach pulled me out of my biology class to tell me that my mom had called the school to say she was alright. Her flight had been scheduled for later that day, and was obviously cancelled.

Baseball played a major role in the healing process in the weeks following 9/11. By now, everyone knows about the Mike Piazza home run.

It was what the Mets did off the field, however, that impressed me the most.

The Mets had been playing in Pittsburgh when the attacks happened. With all flights cancelled, the team took at eight hour bus ride back to New York. As soon as they returned, manager Bobby Valentine and the players immediately began assisting in the relief effort.

Shea Stadium was turned into a staging area for rescue workers, and the Mets helped pack supply boxes with food, water, and medical supplies.

Everyone realized that it was time to role up their sleeves and help. It wasn't a time to play the celebrity card, and avoid the situation.

Then, on September 21, there was a reason to cheer again. Serving as the first sporting event held in New York since the attacks, Shea played host to the Braves, the Mets' long-time rivals.

I wasn't at Shea for this game, but I watched it on television. You could sense that no one was quite sure how to act.

Then Piazza hit that home run, and all of a sudden, it was like a weight had been lifted off this crowds shoulders. People were smiling for the first time since the attacks. Firefighters, and other first reposnders in attendance were smiling, jumping up and down, and cheering.

That's what's great about this game. It serves as a distraction from our everyday lives. It makes us forget our troubles, even if it is just for a short period of time.

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