Ten years ago this Sunday, our country was attacked, civilians were targeted. Yes, it was a statement about Wall Street and our wealth, but at the end of the day, the people who died on 9/11 were moms and dads, brothers and sisters, not soldiers.
In a sports’ world where Lebron James compares games to battles and teammates to soldiers, where football players, like Ray Lewis and Ben Roethlisberger run afoul of the law but find redemption on the field, where so many athletes skip or minimize their education and go onto be millionaires, the NY Rangers offered us a salve for that sort of nonsense that has become the accepted norm, because we are so entertained and enjoy the reprieve that sports provide us. This week, the NHL’s NY Rangers took a tour of three FDNY fire houses to pay tribute, to reflect and to learn. They refreshingly stood around the memorials left, the family members left and the colleagues left by those who perished doing everything in their power to save lives, and acknowledged the “real heroes.”
It is not just a service to the FDNY, either, it is a service to everyone who looks up to the athletes. I love sports and my sports heroes, but the metaphor and symbolism of their victories will never compare to those of the unknown heroes that toil for their communities, often strangers, and sometimes give the most precious and cherished of all sacrifices: their lives, their futures with their families and loved ones, everything most dear in this world. The Rangers redirected the spotlights under which they daily operate and shone them on those who truly deserve it.
(For the NHL.com report on the events, click the link at the top of this post.)