CAN SPORTS HEAL?
David Halberstam says they don't, or at least shouldn't. While I agree that a city's fortune shouldn't be tied to a team's performance, I disagree.
As I've mentioned before, I was at the first Cardinals' game after the terrorist attacks last yearm when Jack Buck read his poem. I think a lot of healing happened that night, both in a lot of cities. We were 40,000 folks gathered together in a stadium, defying those who would harm us. (Yes, I know, going to a ballgame shouldn't qualify anyone for a Profiles in Courage award, but it felt like a big deal at the time). Buck's poem, and spirit in the place helped me believe that we were going to get through this.
The Cardinals won that night, but that didn't really matter.
Now, did the Yankees' improibable run last year help NYC heal? Probably. Would it have happened anyway? Probably as well. Sports can be a shortcut away from frim reality, and it might have happened faster. But I thik things would be quite similar if Jeremy Giombi slid, or Derek Jeter didn't make That Play, and the Yankees were bounced in the first round in the playoffs.
And the Yankees' losing the World Series didn't undo the healing, either.
Hlaberstam's right -- there's a lot of fans who lack perspective. Right now, a jury is deciding who will own a baseball. But most of us see sports as a pleasant diversion. Heck, last year in consecutive weeks, my favorite football team (the Eagles) and my second favorite team (the Rams) lost close playoff games. I would have been a bit happier had they won, but it didn't send me to the depths ther terrorists attacks did.
Hey, it's neat that the Yankees had such a great year, and that a team named the "Patriots" won the Super Bowl. But, like the NY Lottery coming up with a number of "911," (how I was dreading the reaction to that little event) these things were little more than coincidences and distractions. It would be a mistake to think of them as anything more.
Would it heal the Catholic Church if the New Orleans "Saints" or Arizona "Cardinals" win the Super Bowl this year? Probably not.