There has been controversy in recent weeks surrounding the National Anthem prior to the start of NFL games. It has dominated Talk Radio and Social Media alike. As 9/11 approached, the NFL again “braced for possible widespread player demonstrations…at Sunday’s opening games.”
Unlike the websites that stoke the flames of controversy to drive website traffic, we don’t have a payroll to make. We write for “the love of the game.” It means that on a week that saw the 15th anniversary of 9/11, we didn’t need to take irate listener calls, promote a shouting match between two analysts or push out provocative hashtags on Twitter.
Because when you get past all of the manufactured noise over the last couple of weeks, the sports world did some great things last weekend to remember the fallen victims of 9/11. Here are several favorites:
- Football (Field) Size American Flag. I loved the giant flag at Arrowhead. For 9/11, it was held by first responders –the men and women that are the first-line of response. It is America’s heartland and as Adkins sang in his debut album, “Every light in the house is on!” It was the perfect start to a thrilling OT victory by the Chiefs.
- Bases at Multiple MLB Ballparks: It is fine to like the big tribute and, at the same time, also enjoy the smaller, subtle tribute. The bases at several of the MLB ballparks carried physical recognition on 1st, 2nd and 3rd base with the designation “We Shall Not Forget.” It was a nice touch particularly because many young people watching the games were not alive when the events of September 11th transpired.
- Cubs Hat with American Flag Patch: Again, the small tribute can still have a big impact. On that score, I loved the American flag patch on the MLB hats. And of course, as the PA announcer notes its presence, it brought deafening shouts of “USA!”
- Mets: “Never Forget” Chalk Drawing. New York City lost the most lives in the coordinated terror attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. The heroism demonstrated by first responders was simply amazing. This tribute was a nice one from a City that was majorly impacted and loves the Mets (a team that some will recall came up just short against the reigning World Champion Royals last fall).
- B-2 Flyover over Arrowhead. Whiteman Air Force Base is home to the B-2 Stealth Bomber that was a core part of the nuclear triad. The 509th Bomb Wing occupied the skies over Arrowhead Stadium with a flyover that is as good as anything you will see in so-called Flyover Country.
President Kennedy once said that a country not only distinguishes itself by the men it produces, but also by the men it remembers. The men and women that were a part of the heroism of September 11th deserve our respect and our admiration. The writers here at myespnforkids.com tip our collective hats to professional sports leagues and teams that made the 15th anniversary a fitting tribute to those fallen heroes last weekend. It will be recalled as one of the top 2016 moments in sports.