Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 11/16/14

Do you remember where you were 12 years ago today? I do. I was in my second grade class with all of my friends just having a normal day like everyone else when chaos started to occur. Teachers went to meet outside to try and grasp what was actually going on. After the second plane hit it was clear that this was a deliberate attack against our nation. Was there more to come? Were we ourselves in danger of a strike? Were our relatives or friends that worked in the city safe? None of these questions had any answers at this point and thus, fear and panic began to set in. The principal got on the loud speaker and announced we were all going home early which sent us all into happiness, but that happiness would soon change to worry once we all got home to our parents. That’s when my mother, sat me down, showed me the news, and explained the situation. Now as a second grader I truly didn’t understand the severity of the events unfolding, but I was concerned about my dad who worked in New York City. We eventually got word that he was okay and staying in Brooklyn for the night as all traffic exiting Manhattan was stopped. After he returned home there was a big sigh of relief from all of us, but the same could not be said for 2,753 brave souls that perished on that tragic day. We all were in mourning and in a state of shock after the events. We looked for a distraction to help take our minds off of the horrific events, and on September 21st, 2001 we found one. The Mets were home for the first time since the attack, hosting the Cubs. With the Mets down 2-1 in front of a packed house Mike Piazza stepped to the plate in the 8th inning with one man on and one out. On an 0-1 pitch Piazza blasted a fastball to dead center and gave the Mets the lead. Shea Stadium went into a frenzy as New York residents had something to cheer about for the first time in ten days. To this day, it goes down as one of the most defining moments in Piazza’s career, while then-manager Bobby Valentine called it the most special moment of his lifetime. Click here to view the video on YouTube. Skip ahead a little more than a month later to the World Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the New York Yankees. For maybe the only time in my lifetime, everyone, except Diamondbacks’ fans, was supporting the Yankees. For every other instance the Yankees are viewed as the villains of baseball, but not for those seven games. After losing the first two games in Arizona the series shifted to New York for Game 3 where the Yankees were put in must-win situation. President Bush decided he would throw out the first pitch in the game, in what surely would be an emotional night. By going to the mound that night in front of 57,000 fans he was aiming to project a sense of normalcy even after the government warned of possible new terror attacks. It probably couldn’t have been more nerve-wracking for Bush since he had already thrown out the first pitch in April for the Milwaukee Brewers home opener, where he bounced the pitch. Yankees’ captain and icon Derek Jeter met with the President before he went out there and had only one piece of advice. He told the President, “Don’t bounce it, or they’ll boo you.” Jeter probably half-joking, half-serious had to have gotten the President a tad nervous. Well, as President Bush emerged from the dugout he was greeted with a loud ovation from the crowd. He arrived at the mound and took in the moment for a second and gave a thumbs-up to the stadium. He then went on to deliver a strike to Yankees’ backup catcher Todd Greene. He walked off the mound to a singular chant from every one of those 57,000 fans, “U-S-A, U-S-A.” As I re-watch that clip on YouTube today I still get the same goose bumps I got on that very day. Click here to view the video on YouTube. The Yankees went on to win that game 2-1, but lose the series in seven games in one of the best World Series ever played. The President that night showed us how strong of a country we are and that we would not be defeated after it may have looked like we were hit with a fatal blow. The one thing it did was make us stronger. Today we are still the greatest country in the world and many of those terrorists that planned the attacks on 9/11 have been vanquished. But what helped us get through that very tough time? It was sports. It was Piazza’s go-ahead homerun, it was Bush’s first pitch, and it was Jeter’s game-winning home run off Byung-Hyun Kim in Game 4. Sports helped us take three hours out of our lives to not think of all of those that were lost, but instead relax and be happy for a change. In closing I’d like to thank all of those that risked their lives that day, and to all of those that continue to protect my freedom while they fight overseas and put their lives on the line daily. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that”- Martin Luther King Jr. God Bless America -Huberman


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