Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Sports Hypocrite

As much as I hate to admit it, I am a sports hypocrite.  “What exactly is a ‘sports hypocrite’?” you may be asking yourself.  Well let me take a few moments to explain.  Sports fans are passionate beyond comprehension.  We often refer to the teams we cheer for as “our” or “my” team.  I can’t count how many times I’ve uttered the word “we” when discussing one of the teams I root for.  The problem with that is that we will blindly defend our teams or favorite players despite their shortcomings.  Conversely, we blast and attack other teams and players we do not like despite the fact that they have the same shortcomings as our favorites.  Thus, we have discovered the “Sports Hypocrite”.  Got it?  Good.  Let’s move on.

I’m sure you are wondering what could have sparked this revelation in my mind.  Read my last blog regarding Tim Tebow and you will understand.  I continually get frustrated to the point of infuriation while listening to the many sports Podcasts or ESPN shows I frequently watch.  The constant bashing of Tebow’s play and incessant “he can’t play” comments drive me insane.  As I was attempting to ignore the latest blasting, it occurred to me, I have refused to cheer for, acknowledge or accept many sports figures throughout time for no reason at all.  To me, the Tebow bashing comes from nowhere and he has not been given a chance to show if he can play at the NFL level or not.  At the same time, I never gave Kobe Bryant a chance in his professional career and have been bashing him since he declared for the NBA draft many years ago.  He rubbed me the wrong way at his press conference and I never gave his game a chance.  When he was accused of sexual assault in Eagle, Colorado, I jumped on it like a shark smelling blood.  Not only could I disrespect his on court game, I had ammunition for off the court indiscretions.

What’s the point of all this?  Well I am tired of it all.  I am tired of negative sports journalism and reporting.  I’m tired of judging these players who have one simple job in my mind, to entertain me by excelling at the highest level of their sport.  Why can’t we focus on the positive in the sports world?  Why must everything become overanalyzed and players ripped down day after day?  It would be nice to turn on ESPN and just for an hour, not hear how terrible someone is on or off the field.  It would be such a great change of pace to hear what a player did right on the court or field.  It would be great to not hear about some off the field issue that is likely not any business of the world.  Let’s admit it, we have to be getting a little tired of the sensationalistic reporting.  We didn’t hear about Michael Jordan’s gambling and womanizing until after his career was over.  He’s still one of the most beloved figures to ever play a game.  Why is that?  It’s because our opinions were already completed at that point.  We didn’t care, nor want to hear the negative stories.  We wanted to hear about his 63 point playoff performance against Boston.  We wanted to hear about his last second heroics or 6 NBA titles.  The other stuff would just cloud our opinions.  The stories come out and we immediately defend our sports idol by saying the story is from some vindictive person and no longer relevant.  We revert back to the days when we didn’t know about things like this and just cared about their sports accomplishments.  Why can’t we go back to that?

I simply want the fun and joy of sports to return.  I’m tired of negativity in sports.  I want us to enjoy the game and not care what our professional athletes do away from it.  If the athlete is arrested for murder or some other felony, then I understand the reporting.  If he’s been caught cheating on his wife, then leave it to him and his family to handle.  Tiger Woods may be an adulterer, but who are we to judge him?  He’s a grown man making his own choices.  Why should that affect how we enjoy watching him golf?

I guess this leads me to an ugly place, but one I must go to.  To Kobe Bryant, I apologize for referring to you as “Rapist” for the last 10 years.  I will not be a fan of yours, nor the LA Lakers, but I will at least admit that I have enjoyed watching you play.  I hate admitting that, but the truth is that I cheered for you to fail and reveled in the times you did.  I was so angry when I saw people so joyful when LeBron James and the Heat did not win the NBA title this year.  I didn’t want to admit it, but that moment is when I started thinking about sports hypocrisy.  How can I be mad at those doing the same thing I was?

Why must sports be so confusing yet we love it so much?  I love sports and will try to stick with positivity going forward.  Hopefully the sports hypocrite in us all starts to disappear…

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Great Tebow Debate

I get asked the question, probably more than anyone I know, “Why do you like Tim Tebow”?  For some reason, he is a hugely divisive figure that sparks heated debates more than any other sports figure I can remember in my lifetime.  I rarely address the “haters” and “naysayers” because they simply don’t get it.  Explaining it and defending it until I’m blue in the face will not change their perspective.  Everyone has made their decision on this kid based on a number of factors; his on field play, his off field lifestyle, the opinions of others, etc.  For some reason, people will not budge on their stance.  After a whirlwind week of Tebow taking over for incumbent Kyle Orton versus the San Diego Chargers (nearly leading to a comeback win) and then named the starter going forward, I thought it was time to finally unleash my opinions and reasons for being the biggest supporter of Tim Tebow I personally know.

Let me start by saying this is not just me defending the quarterback of my favorite team, the Denver Broncos.  I have been watching Tebow play since his first game at Florida versus Southern Miss in 2006.  It was a random act.  I had the game on TV at home that Saturday afternoon just to check out how Florida looked.  As a lifelong fan of The U, I always kept an eye on Florida and Florida State to see who looked best in the battle for Florida football.  In the 4th quarter, this beast of a kid walked on the field.  One play.  One yard.  One touchdown.  How could that lead to become such a believer in this kid?  I’m used to guys with swagger.  I’m a fan of The U, for crying out loud!  There was just something about him, some describe it as…”it”.  He has the “it” factor and that is beyond description.

As I continued to watch him progress through the years at Florida, I saw a kid that was not only a leader on the field, but a leader off of it.  He’s not fake.  He truly lives the life he believes in, the life he feels destined to lead.  I have never been the most outwardly religious guy, and secretly kind of resented those who were for no good reason.  I was always against those pushing their beliefs on me.  That’s the interesting thing about him.  He doesn’t push his beliefs on you.  He says what he feels, what he believes.  At no point have I heard him say, “This is how you should live”.  He just continues to live a clean lifestyle.  It continues to boggle my mind the hate and anger I read and hear towards him, some of which I think is based in his religious beliefs.  As a society who places professional athletes on a pedestal, shouldn’t someone of Tim Tebow’s character be someone we admire?  Isn’t Tim Tebow the type of guy you want to see succeed and thrust into the “role model” placeholder for kids?  Since becoming a father over two years ago, I examine things like this.  I would love it if my son looked up to me but we all know that outside influences resonate better than parents, at times.  I would rather have my son admire and strive to be like Tim Tebow than so many others in the sports world.  Someone who is humble, hardworking and lives a clean lifestyle is far better than a convicted felon (Vick), alleged rapist (Kobe and Roethlisberger), compulsive gambler and womanizer (Jordan).  I’ll even admit that my son’s name was influenced by two favorites of mine, Brandon Marshall and Carmelo Anthony.  Even I have to admit that they haven’t been the best role models.  The best thing that I can teach my son with athletes as examples is that it is possible to live a positive lifestyle such as Tebow, but people will make mistakes in their life and can be great learning experiences, such as the issues Carmelo dealt with years ago.  I just can’t understand the constant bashing and hatred of Tebow.

Let’s get to football related matters, though.  For years I have had to listen to his “mechanics aren’t right” and “he can’t throw the ball”.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but not all quarterbacks throw the ball the same way.  Dan Marino threw it differently than John Elway.  Steve Young threw it differently than Joe Montana.  Bernie Kosar had a good career and threw it relatively side-armed.  Let’s not even get into the throwing motion of Philip Rivers.  It may look unorthodox, but it works.  That’s all that matters.  The most important thing is getting the ball into the hands of your receivers, tight ends and backs.  Let’s also not forget that for a guy who “can’t throw the ball” he is the all-time leader in the SEC of completion percentage.  His completion percentage of 66.4% is better than SEC quarterback darling, Peyton Manning at 62.5%.  I’m not saying Tebow is better than Manning. That would be foolish, but to say he can’t throw, is also foolish.  Let’s also add in that he hasn’t played enough snaps in the NFL to prove whether he can or can’t throw the ball at the next level.  We’ll all see soon enough and my money is on Tebow to succeed and grow week in and week out.

One thing I have heard all week is that “Tebow did not earn the starting spot” and “the Broncos gave in to a popularity contest”.  First, let me counter with a question, “What did Kyle Orton do to keep the starting spot”?  The Broncos are 1-4 with 3 losses you can easily lay at Orton’s feet for terrible turnovers and mediocre play.  What did Tebow do to earn the spot?  Watch the second half of the Chargers game.  No, his statistics are not glamorous, but watch his team play.  The team rallied behind him and started playing with energy.  They got tougher.  They fed off the crowd and Tebow’s enthusiasm.  Go ahead and dissect it however you want, but the thing you can’t take away is heart.  Players win with heart.  It’s a dogfight on the field and you need a guy who will stand up and lead.  As University of Miami alum and Super Bowl champion Warren Sapp said on Inside the NFL, “I want Tebow in my foxhole”.  This is a soon to be Hall of Fame defensive tackle, one of the best ever, saying he would take Tebow because of what he brings to the table.  Sapp pointed out that not only did he affect the play of the offense, but of the defense as well.  Players were hyped up and ready to go to battle with Tim Tebow leading them.  That’s earning your spot.

Let’s just admit it.  The Denver Broncos staff made a huge blunder by letting the Orton to Miami trade fall through.  They were worried about a pouting former starter when it was clear that Tebow was the way to go.  The play on the field has shown this.  We’re having a completely different conversation if that trade happens.  I’ve had Chiefs fans, Raiders fans and many others tell me how happy they were we stuck with Orton.  I always asked why and the answer was the same; “Tebow scares me.  He’s a winner”.  Fact is, John Elway is learning on the job.  He made a mistake and created this controversy.  I’ve heard people bash pro-Tebow fans because they are “blindly following him”.  Funny thing is, these same people are saying they believe Elway knows what he is doing.  In other words, they are “blindly following” a new GM with no track record.  It’s the same thing, folks!  If they do not stick with Tebow, they will be making a colossal mistake.  It’s possible that Elway is not a great judge of talent, even at quarterback.  Before you attack me, the following story was told by Denver Post sports columnist Woody Paige, who is one of the best sports journalists in the country:

After he retired, he was looking at tape of college players with his dad Jack, one of the best evaluators of talent in the NFL at the time. Elway didn't like a certain college quarterback because he was too short and didn't fit the mold of a prototype quarterback, as John himself obviously did. His dad Jack said you couldn't measure the heart of a man, and he loved the kid quarterback. That kid quarterback was Drew Brees. All he did was win a Super Bowl and become one of the best QBs in the game.

Elway will grow into his role and utilize good scouts, hopefully.  However, just because you were a great player, does not mean you will be great at GM.  For every Ozzie Newsome (the brilliant Ravens GM), there are plenty of Matt Millen (Detroit’s old GM before they fired him and started winning games) clones.

So where does the hate come from?  Is it because he’s traditional been a winner?  Is it resentment from winning 2 National Championships, the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore and being regarded by many “experts” as the best college football player ever?  Yes, it can get tedious to have a player jammed down your throat by the media.  Have we ever seen a player as beloved by the college football media and then just as reviled by the NFL media?  It’s completely night and day reporting.  I think NFL media “experts” act as elitists.  They want you to fit the mold to be accepted into their little club.  “He doesn’t stand in the pocket”.  “He runs the ball too much”.  “He doesn’t throw a picture perfect ball”.  Usually a rookie/second year quarterback is given a chance to grow.  They are afforded the chance to learn on the field, make mistakes and grow as a player.  Tebow is not being afforded this chance by the media members.  They report on him like he has to win the Super Bowl this year or he’s a bust.  Life is not fair, but where is the unbiased reporting?  Why is he treated in such a different way, yet has done nothing to deserve that treatment?  Jealousy towards success is the only answer I can come up with.  Merrill Hoge was a mediocre fullback.  What does he know about playing quarterback in today’s NFL?  Trent Dilfer was a mediocre quarterback who simply won a Super Bowl because his defense was one of the greatest to ever play.  While Trent may know a little about playing, why does that make him an expert on how Tebow plays the game?  Can someone tell me what is so cookie cutter about the way Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Michael Vick play the game?  They all have their own styles and were given the chance to develop them without tremendous expectations.  Vick is especially interesting as so many people applauded the way he “developed as a pocket passer” last season, yet this season, they want him to “run more”.  It’s wild hypocrisy.

While on the topic of hypocrisy, let me just mention Cam Newton.  The sports media and “experts” loved him coming out of college.  He was big, strong, athletic and could make plays with his legs.  Sounds a lot like Tim Tebow to me.  They have different throwing motions, but as I discussed earlier, who cares?  They both seem to have the “it” factor and the same athleticism.  Why the unbridled love for Newton and unchained vitriol towards Tebow?  Let us not forget that Newton transferred to a junior college and then to Auburn simply because he would not play as Tim Tebow’s back up.  Sorry, I just wanted to mention that.

So to summarize, I am a fan of Tim Tebow in a big way.  I believe, like Colts fans believed in Manning when they drafted him, that Tebow will win games for the Denver Broncos.  I like the kid because he works hard, is humble, is unorthodox in his approach on the field and simply knows how to win.  He has an “it” factor I can’t explain.  Why did I become a fan off of one carry, one yard and one touchdown in 2006?  “It” can’t be explained.  “It” just is.  To those who continue to attacks and will revel if he has a bad game…keep it up.  If you haven’t noticed, Tim Tebow thrives off of your doubting him.  By the way, he was named the starter on Steve Young’s birthday, a quarterback Tebow has been compared to when Young entered the league.  Call me crazy, if Tebow’s career plays out anything like Young’s, a lot of people will eat their words…and I will simply do nothing but love the fact that Tebow is in the orange and blue.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Rantings In The Sports World

There is so much going on in the sports world that I might as well just rant on a few things.  Enjoy!

Why is it that some in the sports media complain about QB’s getting protected too much, but when it comes to Vick, they want him babied?  Why the hypocrisy?  The funny thing is, Vick is a guy who may be in the pocket but is reacting like a runner.  He tucks the ball, dances around, ducks his head often as he tries to slide under hits and then complains about hits?  If a lineman is aimed at your chest and you duck your head into him, that’s not a penalty.

Former Eagles LB Hugh Douglas mentioned that McNabb and Vick are “black QB’s” that don’t get calls in response to Mike Periera’s reaction to Vick’s complaints.  Why was it necessary to bring in a racial element to this discussion?  This isn’t a racial issue.  It’s simply an issue of a player who takes hits because of two reasons: a poor offensive line and a QB who tries to stretch plays with his legs and body.  That’s not racial, that’s style of play.  Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler take the same level of punishment and they don’t whine about officials.  Man up, Eagles, and quit being soft.  That’s why you won’t win a championship…in addition to an overpaid/underperforming defense.

Speaking of Vick, how wild is it that the league that says it is concerned about player safety cleared Vick to play 6 days after a concussion?  The NHL held out its largest star in Sidney Crosby for the majority of the season to protect him.  I understand the different levels of concussions, but 6 days?  That’s crazy.  If they really cared about player safety, they would not allow concussed players to return for a minimum of 2 weeks.  The NFL care about player safety?  What a joke.

I really hope the NBA labor situation gets solved soon.  They simply can’t lose momentum that was created last season.  Like them or now, the Miami Heat turned the basketball world on its head and got everyone in the sports world talking.  Dirk Nowitzki had a legendary playoff run.  The Bulls continued to show improvement, despite the lack of a power forward (looking at you, Carlos Boozer).  The biggest markets have so many things going for them right now.  Sit down and figure this dispute out.  I need my NBA League Pass.

Kobe Bryant is apparently going to play 10 games in Italy during the lockout.  If this doesn’t get the lockout solved, I don’t know what will.  I can’t stand the guy, but hopefully this is the catalyst to get a deal done.  The NBA needs to realize that their players have a ton of options in regards to places to play.  They spent a ton of time helping it become a global game and now it could backfire in a big way.

Indianapolis should tank the rest of the season.  Seriously, shut it down.  Pull a San Antonio Spurs when David Robinson got hurt and win your version of Tim Duncan: Andrew Luck.  Manning could come back for the 2012-13 season and mentor Luck.  The investment in a #1 overall pick isn’t what it used to be so financially it doesn’t hurt to have him on the bench.  If it took Reggie Wayne 2 years to learn the offense, why not buy 2 years with Luck by sitting him behind Manning?

I’m not a baseball guy but Wednesday night was a magical sports evening.  I found myself flipping back and forth between the Yankees-Rays and Red Sox Orioles, mildly obsessed with what was happening.  Once the history had been made, it was interesting to scour Twitter and Facebook for reactions.  There was a lot of Boston bitterness out there towards the Orioles, Rays and Yankees.  The Yankees one amused me because there was a lot of insinuation that they tanked the last game to screw Boston.  Funny thing is, the Yankees did what was best for their team.  It’s not up to them to help Boston win.  I’m guessing going 7-21 in September is more the culprit of not making the playoffs than the Yankees losing one game.  Here are a few fun September stats for the Red Sox Nation that they might not have looked at; 1-4 vs. the Yankees, 1-6 vs. Tampa Bay and 2-5 vs. the worst team in the division, Baltimore Orioles.  Look in the mirror, Red Sox.  It was simply your poor play.  They didn’t belong in the playoffs and they showed it.

Jon Jones retained the UFC light heavyweight belt by dismantling Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.  It was the expected outcome, but what wasn’t expected was how easy he made it look.  Jackson looked slow and tentative.  He said a few days after the fight that he may go into boxing since guys aren’t fighting him.  Last I checked, Jackson got hit quite a bit, taken down and choked out.  Jackson just isn’t well rounded enough to compete with the top of the food chain anymore.  He complains about wrestlers just holding him down.  Here’s an idea.  Work on your takedown defense and also getting up from the bottom!  I hear all the time how strong he is, yet when Rashad Evans is owning him on the mat, he looks pretty weak.  Go to boxing Quinton, please.  I’m tired of hearing one dimensional fighters whine when they need to hit the gym and work on their inadequacies.

The Broncos are 1-2 and not getting any better.  First and goal from the one at Tennessee and a TD would seal the deal.  They lost the game.  Guess what?  Tim Tebow didn’t see the field.  AT the very least bring him out in that scenario.  Make the defense think.  No one would know what the Broncos would do in that scenario with Tebow on the field.  They scored a TD at an amazing percentage last season with Tebow in the red zone.  Orton?  Not so much.  Just saying…

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2001 - My Perspective

It has been years in the making.  I have wanted to spend more time writing and sharing my views on the sports world with, well, the world.  I am finally in the position to do so.  However, before I ever post a blog regarding the world of sports, I wanted to share something far more personal.

Ten years ago, the United States and the world was rocked by an act of terrorism no one on US soil could have predicted.  The attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon would produce images of horror and sadness that no one of my generation was prepared for, nor had we ever seen anything like it.  That morning and the subsequent days gave my generation a reality check that we could not have prepared for.  This was our Kennedy Assassination.  This was our Pearl Harbor.  This was our moment in time that our children will ask us about.  The difference is that our moment was televised and captured in so many different ways that millions of stories have come out.  It’s amazing to read the true stories of heroism that occurred that day.  It’s heartbreaking to read the stories of loss.  I do not have a story of heroism to share.  I watched in horror as events unfolded on live television, like millions of people did.  Despite this, I would like to share my memories of this horrific and monumental day in US history.

I fell asleep late on the night of September 10th at my home in Des Moines, Iowa.  My beloved hometown Denver Broncos had defeated the visiting New York Giants on Monday Night Football and I had gone to bed happy.  As usual, I went to bed with my television on.  I had a tendency to fall asleep while watching a movie or SportsCenter on ESPN.  I had to wake up early the next morning to drive downtown and attend a manager’s meeting for the movie theatre company I was working for at the time.  I woke up to an image on the screen that did not seem real, a commercial airplane flying directly into a building.  Given the unreal nature of the image, I assumed my television was on HBO or Showtime, not remembering what I fell asleep watching the night before.  I got out of bed, turned the television off and headed into the bathroom to shower up for my meeting.  My routine was to put a CD in and listen to music as I got ready so I was unaware that any news was being relayed over the radio.  I finished getting ready and jumped in my car, still oblivious to the historic events and news transpiring.

When I arrived to the office, there was a general disbelief of what was going on.  By the time I arrived, the second plane had been flown directly into the second tower.  The chatter from other manager’s was speculation as to what was going on; one plane is an accident, two planes is a trend.  I had no idea what they were talking about so I intently listened but still was no sure about the scope of what happened in New York.  The manager’s meeting went as they usually did, minimal information and listening to the VP talk.  It was a much shorter meeting than usual and people dispersed in a hurry once the meeting was over.  It was at this time that I realized what was going on.  I jumped into my car, but instead of listening to my music, I turned on the radio.  Every station was talk radio.  It was all news that had pre-empted the regular broadcasting of music.  I listened as they described the horror going on in downtown Manhattan.  Remember, I had only seen the first building on fire and thought it was a movie so it had not hit me yet.  The image entered my head and then went right out after I turned the television off.

As soon as I walked into my basement apartment, I turned on my main television and sat down.  It was roughly thirty minutes before the first tower collapsed and I was catching up on what was going on.  The moments I witnessed could not be worse.  The flames.  The plane slamming into the tower.  The people rushing from the area and the newscasters describing the horror.  The images that left an indelible mark in my mind were far more distressing.  I had witnessed paper and debris falling from the sky like a “twisted ticker tape parade”, as one news source described it.  The images I could not get over were the people hundreds of feet in the air deciding that their time on this Earth was over and jumped from the windows that had been blown out by the explosions within the Two Towers.  Can you imagine?  During those moments, people had decided that it was not possible to survive this.  They were located too high and instead of suffering from smoke inhalation or burns, they jumped.  I recall a person putting their arms in the air and then jumping, giving themselves to God and hoping to go quick.  As I look back now, 10 years later, I’ve put myself in their shoes.  As much as anyone would want to fight and live through, the realization that you wouldn’t see your family and friends again is heart wrenching.  I could only imagine thinking of my wife Rachel and my son Marshall, hoping they knew the love I had for them.  When I just saw the building on fire, it didn’t resonate with me the loss of life within.  Once I saw those people plummeting to their unfortunate end, the pain and horror of what occurred sunk in.

I sat frozen for most of the day.  I watched as more stories came in about the Pentagon and from United flight 93.  Hearing about the heroism from flight 93 made me proud.  They fought knowing that they would likely perish, but they were not going to let that plane hit another building.  I recall making two phone calls that day.  I talked to my Dad in Colorado.  Details of that call escape me but there was just something comforting knowing they were fine.  There were so many news sources “reporting” that more targets could be attacked that day.  No one felt safe.  The second call was to my friend Carl.  We essentially watched TV together for a few minutes, rarely speaking but wanting to have someone there to talk in case words came to us.  In all honesty, there were no words.  How can you describe this?  The only words that came to mind that day were horror, sadness, heroism, chaos, cowardice, unity and patriotism.  There were too many emotions to describe in words.

I do not recall when I stopped watching that day.  If memory serves, I essentially just passed out from the emotional toll it had taken.  I did not know anyone there but seeing it all happen took a toll I could not describe.  I woke up the next day and despite not wanting to see any more, I could not turn off my television.  I got ready for work and went to the theatre, listening on the radio as I drove to work.  The theatre was expectedly slow, even for a Wednesday.  My assistant manager, Stephanie, was there also but I could tell she needed to go home.  She was part of the Iowa National Guard and no one really knew what her future held.  I just remember the look of pure sadness on her face when I arrived.  There’s nothing you can do or say to help someone in that scenario.  I let her go home.

The rest of that day was unlike any other.  People came in to see movies, yet I’m not sure anyone actually saw one.  The faces of people I knew well were blank, clearly drained of all emotion and just needing to be away from the house watching obsessively what was transpiring.  We watched the world change right in front of us.  Our feeling of security was gone.  Our belief that horror like this could happen everywhere but here had disappeared all in 102 minutes.

The first mass gathering of people in the United States happened in Houston that Thursday.  While it is not something regularly reported, I think the men and women of World Wrestling Entertainment should be commended for starting to get thing back to normal.  They did a live show as fans gathered to chant “USA” throughout the show.  Vince McMahon gave an amazing speech to start the show.  Lillian Garcia sang the national anthem with such emotion that she broke down at the end.  In between matches, there was a performer sitting in front of the camera telling you their feelings.  Seeing these performers, some of which with family in New York, made it possible to get these emotions out.  It is odd to have professional wrestlers be the reason I could finally cry, but to listen to them and see their reactions that mirrored America’s emotions, it finally gave me the go ahead.

Ten years later and we are back to our normal day to day lives, but there are images and emotions that we will never forget.  The one thing, above all, that I like to remember from those few days of Hell can be summed up in one word.  Unity.  We didn’t care about Republican or Democrat.  We didn’t care about white or black.  We simply care about helping our fellow person.  I saw it in New York.  I saw it in Des Moines.  People were just more caring during that time.  The world seemed unified and love came pouring in.  Ten years after the horror, let’s remember those fallen but also, let’s remember the love and unity.  We just might make this world a better place in the end.