In wake of Hurricane Sandy, sports can help heal wounds

With the main impact of Hurricane Sandy felt along the eastern United States, it is important for all of us to understand how devastating it was. Damage reports are different depending on the news source, but we all know what happened; houses are gone, the New York subway system is completely flooded, and lives are changed forever.

They say that time heals all wounds, but sports and a little winning can help too. A notable instance was when the New Orleans Saints, despite the issues of their 2006 season, the NFL team gave a huge lift to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. On Sept. 25, 2006 and the game was in the Superdome in New Orleans. It was the first game in the city after Katrina, and it was after the facility was used for a shelter. ESPN televised the game against the Atlanta Falcons and suddenly Americans had something to think about besides the destruction: football. Very early in the game, New Orleans’ special teams blocked a punt and recovered it for a touchdown. From that moment onward, the entire city was ecstatic as the Saints won 23-3 over the Falcons. Obviously there were problems that remained, but that night against Atlanta started the healing process and the Super Bowl victory in 2009 completed it.

Sept. 11, 2011 is another tragic incident is known across the world and this even has changed the fabric of society: September 11, 2001. We all know the impact of that day, but a kids’ game helped a city heal. The time to throw away any team allegiances was on Sept. 21, 2001 when the New York Mets played the Atlanta Braves. The old Shea Stadium had been used as a shelter and relief area for families, but that night it turned into a place of majesty and awe. Before the game, all emergency personnel were honored and the Mets players wore “NYPD” hats or patches. It was an outlet for the grieving, allowing people to focus on how the Mets were going to win. Crews at Ground Zero were given a television to watch the game as well. In the bottom of the eighth inning, trailing 2-1, catcher Mike Piazza came to the plate with a runner on. He took a mighty swing at a pitch and the ball sailed into the stands. Shea Stadium roared to life and the Mets held on for the 3-2 win; that moment may be arguably the greatest single game moment in franchise history. The Yankees had their night as well, and while neither team won the World Series that year, most people will tell you that the Mets had a part in uplifting a city in despair.

What does this have to do with Hurricane Sandy? I’ll tell you. The New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets were supposed to play this week but the game was cancelled due to Sandy (ESPN confirmed this on Halloween). Now it might be their turn to uplift New York again. Whenever they play each other, fans will remember that there is one team worth rooting for: New York City. If one of those teams were to win the NBA Finals this year, it would be inspiring for the city and it could make life a little better for those affected by the tragedy.