I was going to use this column to make some observations about the new NFL season, maybe make some picks, and perhaps talk about my fly fishing trip…basically the usual stuff I write about. You notice there is no title for this column…to come up with a witty play on words would be to trivialize the events of the last two weeks, so here it goes.
I found out last week that Eamon McEneaney was missing after the attacks on 9/11. Eamon went to my alamater, Cornell, and was a three-time All-American lacrosse player. Eamon worked for Cantor Fitzgerald and is among the 6,347 missing in the rubble of the World Trade Center.
Sports and Hollywood. That is what this website is about, but this attack truly puts both of these industries into perspective. In sports, we have many athletes, coaches and owners with a inflated senses of self. Grandstanding, poor sportsmanship and ego-boasts have become routine. In Hollywood, we all have followed the freakshows that are today's actors and musicians, we have watched the talkshows steeped in mean-spiritedness, and we have read the gossip rags full of sensationalism.
Before September 11th, the biggest story was Anne Heche's book…do you remember how we were all so curious about her multiple personalities and mental breakdowns? Do you think anyone cares about what Anne Heche has to say right now? It used to be that in order to be called a celebrity, you needed to do something good. The word itself means to celebrate someone. Just as TV shows like Survivor and Big Brother no longer qualify as "reality TV" (because we have all now seen the ultimate "reality"), I hope the term "celebrity" reclaims its original meaning. I would also like to see Survivor change its name…somehow watching people eat bugs and run obstacle courses all in the attempt to be called the "Ultimate Survivor" rings very hollow right now.
We as a nation and a society have been slapped hard in the face by this tragedy and one of the few good things to come out of it is our realization of where sports and Hollywood belong in our lives. Sports and Hollywood are fun. They are distractions. They can help us feel better for a couple hours, but they cannot become our lives. Not to get too deep and profound on your guys, but we now have time to reflect about who we are as a nation and as a society. Just look around at how easy it has been for us to unite as Americans and to fall in love with our country again. We need to hold onto this feeling of togetherness and we need to remember that the trivial things in life, like sports and Hollywood, don't always belong in the foreground of our collective consciousness.
The people who we need to celebrate are not homerun hitters, gifted quarterbacks or movie stars. Instead, the people we should celebrate are the people who live next door to you, the people you work with, the guys who went to your college. The people to celebrate are the ones who would fight the natural urge to save themselves by risking their own lives in order to save others. They are police officers, firemen, office workers and people on a plane. These are my heroes; these are the people I want to celebrate.
September 29, 2001