Remembering September 11, 2001

Finding the balance between grief and perseverance is a challenging task when dealing with a tragedy such as the attack on our country eight years ago. Americans should never forget what happened and the lives that were lost. We should also continue our way of life because, if we don’t, the terrorists succeeded.

On September 11, 2001, The Today Show filled my television screen as I ate breakfast and prepared to leave the house. At the time, I worked at the YMCA and planned to exercise before my shift began around noon. My wife, a registered nurse, was already at work.

I remember calling my dad and asking him if he had seen that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. How in the world could a pilot hit one of the towers? I hung up the phone, walked downstairs, and noticed that now both towers were engulfed in flames. The second tower had been hit.

I called him back and we both immediately knew that this was no accident. America was under attack. When I called my wife, she said that some people were talking about nurses going to New York to help care for victims. That plan was never carried out, as many health professionals in the area waited to help people that never came.

On my way to work, news broke of the Pentagon attack and the plane crash in Pennsylvania. I couldn’t contact my dad anymore due to cell service being overloaded. I kept in contact with my wife and mom throughout the day.

One of the things that sticks out in my mind was standing on the deck that night and looking up at the sky. It was so calm and peaceful, a far cry from the horrors roughly 12 hours earlier.

Our way of life had changed in a matter of hours. The days and weeks to come were filled with making an emergency supply box and fears of a biological terror attack. You couldn’t open mail without thinking of it being laced with anthrax.

The sports world came to a halt, then was resurrected as part of the healing process and a return to normalcy. Safety was definitely a concern, but sports helped a lot of people cope with the tragedy.

When sounds of the Star-Spangled Banner filled a stadium, it was almost a surreal experience. Some people cheered and some people cried. There was no right or wrong response. God Bless America was often the song of choice during the seventh-inning stretch at baseball games.

As the years have passed, it is disappointing to see that many people have seemingly tried to forget about the event known as “9/11”. It disgusts me to see people not stand for the national anthem. Many kids know nothing about what happened that fateful day.

Do not allow the innocent people who died that day to be forgotten. Pray for the safety of the men and women of our armed forces. Do not let your political affiliation affect what should be your most important alliance – that of being an American.

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Do you believe in the Madden Curse?

Every year, video gamers of all ages eagerly await the launch of the latest John Madden football game. The game has amazingly evolved over the years, always taking advantage of cutting-edge technology.

When first developed, the game was known as John Madden Football, with the big guy himself gracing the cover of the packaging. In 2001, the box art began featuring an action shot of a current NFL player.

The Madden Curse refers to the injury or poor performance that usually happens to said player. Do you think I am crazy? Let’s take a look…

Madden 2001: Eddie George
The curse was delayed a bit for Eddie George. After enjoying a great season in 2000, the following year saw him hampered by injuries and his rushing numbers hit an all-time low.

Madden 2002: Daunte Culpepper
After leading his team to the NFC Championship game the year before, Daunte Culpepper and the Vikings struggled to a 4-7 start in 2001. Culpepper then suffered a knee injury and missed the rest of the season.

Madden 2003: Marshall Faulk
After four consecutive seasons of rushing for more than 1300 yards, Marshall Faulk was bothered by an ankle injury in 2002 and saw his numbers dip below the 1000 yard mark. The Rams also missed the playoffs.

Madden 2004: Michael Vick
Michael Vick suffered a broken leg during a preseason game in 2003, one day after the Madden game hit store shelves.

Madden 2005: Ray Lewis
In 2004, Lewis failed to record an interception for the first (and only) time in his career. He missed 10 games in 2005 with a torn hamstring.

Madden 2006: Donovan McNabb
Donovan McNabb suffered a sports hernia in the first game of the 2005 season. After attempting to play despite the injury, he had surgery and missed the final seven games of the year.

Madden 2007: Shaun Alexander
After leading his team to the Super Bowl, Shaun Alexander suffered a broken foot three weeks into the 2006 season. He missed the next six weeks.

Madden 2008: Vince Young
Vince Young was only bothered by a minor leg injury, but did throw only nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

Madden 2009: Brett Favre
After starting the season well, Brett Favre suffered an injury to his throwing arm. Continuing to play, Favre and the Jets saw their season fall apart.

Madden 2010: Larry Fitzgerald/Troy Polamalu
In the first game of the season, Troy Polamalu sprained a ligament in his left knee. He is expected to miss three to six weeks.

Buckeye fans get a glimpse of things to come

The weather could not have been more perfect for Ohio State’s open practice last night at Ohio Stadium. This was my second year attending the event that serves as a real eye-opener that summer is coming to a close and football is right around the corner.

Despite the gorgeous scenery and free admission, the crowd was estimated to be a lot smaller than last year. However, that did not have an impact on the enthusiasm as the fans cheered every catch in the corner of the end zone and every kick that split the uprights.

As usual, Brutus Buckeye was a major attraction for fans both young and old. He posed for pictures, signed autographs, and caused many youngsters to form a big smile.

It is so great to see grandparents, parents and kids all sharing the excitement and enjoyment of something they all hold close to their heart. There is no generation gap when it comes to Buckeye football.

About an hour into the practice, you could hear a rumbling behind the south stands. The crowd erupted as the best damn band in the land made their way into the stadium. The Buckeye Battle Cry brought many people to their feet, singing and clapping as if it were a Saturday in late November and the hated Michigan Wolverines were across the field.

One of the practice drills involved the quarterbacks attempting to connect with a receiver in the corner of the end zone. A complete pass would trigger loud cheers while a great defensive play would be followed by a collective sigh. I found it funny that the crowd was disappointed in seeing a Buckeye defensive back make a great play. I guess fans love offense.

I am not going to break down the Xs and Os of what went on last night. The open practice is not about how many passes are completed or how many guys step flawlessly through a set of orange cones while catching a pass.

It was about the fans. People who may not get a chance to see the team they root for so passionately every Saturday did so last night. Go Bucks!

Rick Pitino: How is 9/11 related to banging some chick in a restaurant?

University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino told police he had consensual sex at a restaurant with a woman named Karen Cunagin Sypher in 2003. He also said he later gave the woman $3000 when she said she wanted to have an abortion but didn’t have health insurance.

Sypher claims that Pitino raped her, an allegation that the coach denies. Her credibility has been questioned by law enforcement officials due to inconsistent facts and only coming forward with claims of rape after she had been charged with attempting to extort money from Pitino.

Pitino has apologized for the incident and it appears that he will remain at Louisville. University president James Ramsey said it is time to move on and that Pitino is “our guy”.

During the apology, Pitino said, “I came here at a very difficult time. When 9/11 hit, you needed a community to get you over it. In New York City, it was easy because everybody knew the devastation of that and they got each other over it. In Louisville, the impact wasn’t felt like New York City, but I needed the community to help me get over it. The university officials and my friends and loved ones have helped me through this very difficult time.”

It was not the first time Pitino referenced the 9/11 attacks in regards to the Karen Sypher case. He brought claims of extortion to the FBI in March of this year and later said, “But if I can get through 9/11, I can get through anything in my life, and I got through 9/11, and there’s nothing ever that’s going to come close to that.”

Pitino’s brother-in-law was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. I cannot imagine the pain that a family would feel after such a tragic incident. However, I think it is a subject not suited for reference when talking about adultery.

Since his days at the University of Kentucky, I have always admired Pitino as a basketball coach. Now, I see him as a scumbag. Cheating on your wife is bad enough. Giving the woman you banged at a restaurant money for an abortion is worse. Comparing it all to dealing with the grief of thousands of people losing their lives is asinine.

Ozzie Guillen has had enough

As of Monday, White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko has been hit by a pitch three times in the last four games. Apparently, his manager has had enough. Before their game on Sunday against the Indians, Ozzie Guillen addressed the situation.

“If I see somebody hitting my players and I know it’s on purpose, two guys are going down. I don’t care if I get suspended, I don’t care.”

“They hit one guy then threw in to another guy. I got upset. I know for a fact they’re not throwing at anybody, but enough is enough. I’ve got Konerko who has got bruises all over the place. Around the league, be careful because we’re going to hit people. I don’t care if they suspend me, because I have got to protect my players.”

Pitching inside is a very important part of the game. For a pitcher to be successful, he has to challenge hitters and show he is not afraid to come inside. Guillen made the point that if you are unable to take command of the inside part of the plate without plunking someone, don’t come inside.

Guillen strikes me as a manager that I would love to play for. He is passionate about the game and about winning. He will do anything for his players, as long as they play with the same intensity.

“I’d rather have myself suspended for two days than have my players on the DL for 30 days.”

Players respect a manager or teammate who will stick his neck out for them.

Baseball is a game with unwritten rules. I can remember an incident about eight years ago while catching for a summer league team. Some guy hit a home run and decided to stand and admire his shot, before breaking into a slow trot around the bases. In my best Crash Davis impersonation, I advised the gentleman to run, which he did not.

The next batter got a fastball right in the side. As he winced and started toward first base, I told him that he could thank his buddy for that.

Despite reports that Major League Baseball is looking into his comments, Guillen stuck by his comments.

“I can say whatever I want to say. I know the integrity of this game better than anybody.”