2001-09-15 / Sports

Ode To The A: by Elio Velez

Ode To The A: by Elio Velez

On September 12, the day after the World Trade Center bombing, New York is a ghost town. On my way to work, I rode the A train and it was a ghastly sight as I saw the Manhattan skyline. On that ride, The JFK stop is full of people most days going to work or flying to another town. Not one person got off the stop. The ride between Broad Channel and JFK almost made me break down. The usual sight of the Manhattan skyline with the World Trade Center there was just full of black smoke. You could see the passengers look at the skyline with eyes filled with dread horror and just plain silence.

A town full of life, bustle, and excitement is all swept away. Watching the towers explode and crumble ate away at my soul. The place where I worked, shopped and ate is no more. My former co-workers who were on the top floors of WTC Tower 2 are now gone. A place where I felt and believed would stay in the New York Skyline for my lifetime is now gone.

Do I wish for vengeance for the people who did this? Yes, I most certainly do. I am angered, mad, pissed off. I could write down curse words to express my guilt but I cant and I wont. As I rode the subway to work today, the eyes of people looked hollow, lifeless and without a soul. No words were spoken but it only took a glance at the person next to you to know that we all share the same feelings of despair. The despair we saw on the television, those who made phone calls to loved ones to the towers or those who worked nearby. It is not wrong to feel sad or angered. It’s human emotions such as those that are the trademarks of us. We cannot hide that away. We cannot ignore it and push it to the back of our heads.

I haven’t written a word yet about sports as I write this and I don’t really want to. Of course there are cancellations of events from high schools to the pros. The National Football League just canceled their weekend games and baseball canceled their games and suspended their minor league playoff games. And we know that sports is insignificant in a time like this but let us all remember that they are human too.

Players on the Chicago White Sox who were going to play the Yankees saw the buildings go down. Once they went down, players such as Harold Baines and Jose Valentin on the White Sox wanted to get out of town. They were scared, frightened and afraid of their safety. They thought of loved ones back at home, friends and family and that is what we all go through in a crisis such as this. Even if the White Sox, Yankees, Mets, or any other teams didn’t play, they went through the same trauma that all of us have gone through. We can’t trivialize their feelings because people might hold them to a higher standard.

One of the sports figures that died on United Airlines flight 175 from Boston that crashed to the World Trade was Ace Bailey, who was the director of pro scouting for the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL. I do not write his name to make him bigger than other people who died on those flights, but I write to connect how sports are affected. Coach Larry Robinson of the New Jersey Devils stated that Bailey was a "a great fun loving guy who enjoyed the game he truly loved." David Conte, who heads pro scouting for the Devils said, "There aren’t many people who lived every day more fully" and Rangers GM Glen Sather said he was "full of life and vitality". Millions of people either connected through friends, family and acquaintances from the sports world are affected.

I urge all of you to hug your family, friends, husband, and wife. To stay close to them in this time because we all need each other. This is a time to come together and appreciate that we are alive. We have to continue to live life to the fullest. If Ace Bailey lived his life to the fullest, we all can and we will. Sports will move on, the games will play again and we can divert ourselves to those games. We will enjoy watching the hard work, and excitement that these players put into the games. I hope and pray that we keep fighting for life and appreciate how lucky we really are.

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