Once the car pulled to the front of the line 12 years ago on Sept. 11, my daughter got in and asked one seemingly basic question.
“Can you tell me what happened today?”
Like most high school students, she was allowed to watch televised coverage of 9/11 as it unfolded.
Explaining what happened and what it meant was no easy task. Scores of people died in a senseless act of terrorism. It was an attack on democracy and our freedom.
Of course, the next logical question was this, “Are we going to be OK?”
Minutes later, she was off to a regular swim practice. Preparations for a weekend meet continued.
As people across the nation struggled to pick up the pieces and make sense of what happened, another key question emerged. Should any games be played?
Ultimately, NFL games and the majority of college games were postponed. Thankfully, for high schools in many places, including Louisiana, the games went on. So did the cross country meets and swim meets.
In retrospect, that may not seem significant. But to me, it made all the difference in the world.
The main reason high school events were allowed to go on was simple. No high school game or event would attract enough people to make it a terrorist target. At the time, I couldn’t think of a better way for people to start reclaiming their lives than to go to a high school football game. Or some other high school event.
Those games and events didn’t change what happened. They were not significant on a national or international level.
Yet they were important to thousands of people who were looking for something, anything that gave life a feeling of normalcy. It was a chance to celebrate life and the joy of watching athletes compete.
It was the American thing to do. And it was the Louisiana thing to do. As I look back on it now, that week 12 years ago seems like it’s a lifetime away.
Our lives and society have changed. So has high school athletics. But the impact of high school athletics continues to be significant.
An advertising campaign from years ago called cotton the fabric of our lives. I contend that sports, especially high school sports, is often the thread that holds us together.
You can bet I’ll pay closer attention to the forecasts before I go out to a football game this week.
After back-to-back weather delays during the first two weeks of the regular season, football coaches hope the third week is the charm that gives everyone the chance to experience a normal game situation. Like a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Several coaches have called this the most disruptive set of weather circumstances that hasn’t involved a hurricane. I have to agree.
Whether you bring rain gear to the game is a matter of personal choice. But I think it would be a smart choice.