Notes from Wonderland: A day to reflect

On this, the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America it almost seems wrong to talk about sports. ALMOST. We have been bombarded with images of the attacks and tales of September 11. It'll probably get worse as the day progresses. Part of me feels that this column should avoid mention of the day and another feels like it needs to address it.

I woke up this morning, grabbed the paper and it hit me. The date at the top held some kind of power. It looked strange. Then logging onto my computer it was there again. All the e-mails had the 9/11/ date next to them. Same thing with the message boards. It just looks bizarre. For an entire year we've seen that date as so much more than a date.

For me today will be a day of reflex ion. It hardly seems like a year has passed since that fateful morning. I woke up late that day and flipped on the radio. There was no Jim Rome, just a news update. It took me a few minutes to figure out what was going on. I then spent the next five hours in front of the television.

I debated what to do today. Should I press on as if nothing happened? Should I go to one of the vigils? Go to TEP and take part in the memorial there? In the end I decided that I would go to Phoenix and watch baseball. While it may not be as somber occasion as a candle light vigil, I think it will be a better tribute.

I plan on getting there early for the pregame remembrances. I want to hear the reading of the late Jack Buck's eloquent poem in person. I want to sing the National Anthem as loud and as proud as I can. And at 9:11 I want to hear the silence as 35,000 people pay their respects to the fallen.

I won't lie I want to watch baseball. I want to watch a game that is still considered "America's Pastime". It may not be my grandfather's game, but it is an American institution. It symbolizes America, both good and bad. Baseball is a melting pot. Players from five continents play in the major leagues. Baseball is capitalism. Baseball is everything they tried to take away from us.

In the end I want to go and as a group give a big middle finger to our attackers. I want to show them that we are not afraid. I want to show them they only unified us. I want to show them that they picked on the wrong target.

Of course they won't see that. They will just see us as arrogant Americans living out decadent lifestyle. Infidels.

It may not be the best tribute, but it is the best tribute for me.

Other thoughts
*Are the Patriots the most disrespected champion ever? Even after throttling Pittsburgh on Monday night they get little love. In the "Daily Star's" pick-em contest four-out-of-five pickers chose the Jets over the Patriots. They may not be the '85 Bears, but they are the world champs.

*The Utah game is a huge measuring stick for the Wildcats. We'll know a lot more about how good the Cats are after this game. Utah is a good, solid ball club and this one won't be easy.

*Last weekend was one of the better weeks of football I have seen in a long time. Other than the disappointing Miami/Florida game, it seemed as if every college game was close. UCLA and Oregon escaped scares to Colorado State and Fresno. Alabama almost shocked Oklahoma and Air Force mixed my two favorite things: the triple option and overtime.

The NFL was even better. How about the endings of Jet/Bills, Saints/Bucs and most unbelievable Chiefs/Browns? The Chiefs won a game where they did not get off a pass on their final drive and still kicked a game winning field goal. As a Chiefs fan I feel a bit guilty, but I'd like to thank Dwayne Rudd anyways.

*Can we bring back the college players to international competition? The "Dream Team" concept is dead. Jordan, Magic and Bird were Dream Teamers. Baron Davis and Andre Miller are just very good point guards. Let's take a college all-star team or better yet the national champions. Send Maryland. If we have to send the pros, let's send a bunch of hungry NBDL or CBA players. Let them from a national team, play an NBA preseason schedule and stay together for an entire year.

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[Brad Allis is the editor of Cat Tracks Magazine and His columns run on Wednesdays.]

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