As Sam Sees It

The United States has seen sporting events interrupted due to the terrorist attack that struck at New York and Washington on Sept. 11. Certainly, the postponing or canceling of most of these events was the right and prudent thing to do. It is time now, though, to return to a more normal way of life and get back to having some fun.

It would have been foolish to play games that required flying to their location during the first few days after the attack. That alone would seem to call for the cancellation or at least the postponement of most professional games. Officials recognized the situation and did the wise and prudent thing in calling off such sporting events through the weekend following the terrorist acts.

Major League Baseball resumed where it had left off, but vowed to play the games, which had been postponed after the end of the regular season. This pushed the play-offs and the World Series back a week. It will probably be unusually cold weather for baseball in some locations when the World Series is played. That is a small price to pay for finishing out the season as planned and playing all of the play-off games originally scheduled.

National Football League games were postponed for the weekend following the terrorism and, it was later decided, scheduled to be played after the last regular season game. The NFL, though, has determined to change its play-off schedule and eliminate the first series of wild card games. This will allow the league to keep the Super Bowl on the date originally scheduled. That is a mistake. The result will be that teams, which would have qualified for the play-offs under the original rules, will not. It would have been better in this instance if football had imitated baseball and merely moved the dates back.

Some college teams had decided that Saturday was far enough removed from Tuesday to play their games and get back to a more normal routine. Some lower division college teams did just that. All of the major college teams cancelled or postponed their games. This made sense for those, which would have needed to travel by air to play. Teams who only needed an hour or two’s bus ride may have been better off playing.

Most high schools played their Friday night games, which was the right thing to do. None of these required air travel and to have cancelled these contests would have signaled another small victory for the terrorists. They got enough of those as it was.

Life will never be the same in the United States as it was on and before Sept 10, 2001. Security everywhere will become more of a priority. Worry, or at least nagging doubts, will be there when we travel or at events which might attract the attention of a terrorist. This form of “warfare” is successful when we give up our freedoms and change our way of life because of our fear. This does not mean that we should plow ahead with no thought for security and safety. That would be doubly foolish. It does mean, though, that we must not let their actions dictate our way of life. Every time we restrict our freedom and our choices out of fear, they have won. They can win and never commit another act of terrorism, if we let them determine who we are and how we will act.

One of the changes that we must make, and we have already taken steps to do so, is that we must take terrorism seriously and move to eradicate it. We must come to regard the type of terror practiced by the IRA against Great Britain or the PLO against Israel as crimes against civilization. That is what they are.

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