We have once again been reminded of what is and is not important in the world. There has been, even in my own household, debate of when sporting events should start back up, but start back up they must. There is always discussion on the value of sports in our society, but this is one time when sports and entertainment do have real value. Restarting sporting events shows the terrorists of the world that we, the American people, will not be cowed by acts of terrorism, that their acts of violence will not have power over us. Restarting the games is also part of the healing process. We can come together and, for a while, think of something besides what has happened. The games will not heal our broken hearts, the games will not stop our grieving, but the games will offer a brief respite from cold, hard, reality and give us a chance to catch our breaths.
When should the games resume? I don't know the answer to that question. I do know that when they resume we should return to the games, and to our jobs, determined to be a better people and country. My wife was driving home from work and saw a man on the side of the road with a sign that read, "Nuke Islam." The people who carried out the terrible acts in New York and Washington D.C. are no more representatives of the Islamic religion than the people who live in an Aryan Nation compound are representatives of Christianity. Please do not paint any person with the broad brush of ignorance just because they are from the Middle East, or because they practice a certain religion. We are made of better stuff than that. If you have a friend, neighbor, or fellow worker from the Middle East give them a friendly wave, a nod, a hand on the shoulder, and show them that we are a people who see beyond stereotypes and are a country where others, "…will not be judged by the color of their skin [or religion] but by the content of their character."
When you go to your next sporting event, remember that it is just a game. Is it appropriate to banter back and forth with fans of other teams before games? Certainly. Is it appropriate to tease and harass people you don't know after games? No. Is it okay to talk trash with friends who support your team's rival? Yes. Is it okay to cross the line and get into a fistfight with someone just because they support another team? Never!
I have a good friend, and fellow OSU season ticket holder, who roots for the New York Yankees. I am a life-long Boston Red Sox fan. The Yankees, Red Sox, rivalry is one of the most bitter in sports and I always say that I hate the Yankees. When I say I hate the Yankees, I do not literally hate the Yankee organization, players, or any of their fans. I would never do anything destructive to a Yankee fan or player. I would never verbally abuse a Yankee fan, but I do kid around with my friend. If the Yankees get creamed one day, I make sure my Yankee friend knows about it. If the Sox ever beat them in the postseason, I would make sure my Yankee friend heard about it until next season and I expect (would be disappointed if he didn't) the same from him. When my friend comes to the house, I don't hand him his coffee in an OSU mug, but make sure that he gets it in a Red Sox mug. I'm not sure that I have ever had coffee at his house that wasn't in a Yankee mug. It is all done in fun, and that is the point. Sport is supposed to be fun, an outlet, and an escape. Don't make it more than that.
I'll see you at the next home game, whenever that is. Have fun, get wild, but never forget the things that are really important.