- The Washington Times - Friday, September 14, 2001

America's horror puts nothing in perspective, despite the inclination in the sports world to express that stale sentiment.Here is the only perspective: If the cowards were led by Osama bin Laden from the bosom of Afghanistan, let there be no misunderstanding.
Goodbye, Kabul.
Hello, lunar landscape.
You want to meet Allah, bin Laden? Please, let us help.
To the Taliban, said to be in hiding at the moment, have fun ruling a series of craters.
This is the perspective that reduces everything around it to pulp, the games included. Its visceral nature must be tempered against the need to pick back up again. Does the attack put the local grocery stores, restaurants and shopping malls in perspective?
The perspective-clinging denizens of the so-called toy department have come down with a bad case of professional doubt, as columnist Dan Daly noted in these pages yesterday.
To them, the games no longer matter. In fact, the games matter more than ever, celebrating as they do who we are and our way of life. No, the games are never as important as they seem. But they are hardly unimportant. They are a reflection of us, a microcosm of our quest to achieve victory in whatever the pursuit is. The games, conveniently enough, make the point in black and white.
The self-flagellation coming from the sports pages is understandable, given the tendency of too many to worship at the altar of sport. They often see cosmic meaning, when there is none, in the sweaty spectacles before them, so their sudden date with perspective is almost predictable, merely following an absence of such. Daly, incidentally, has no such proclivities around the games, which lends substance and backbone to his commentaries, some of the best in America.
The games must go on, the sooner the better, just as Wall Street must return to the business of America as soon as possible. We cannot be cowed by a bunch of terrorists. Isn't that what they want?
We must resist the fetal position, no matter the endeavor, the games included. We must stand up and fight back in memory of those who fell on Sept. 11, 2001.
NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue believed otherwise yesterday, electing to postpone the games Sunday. It was a tough call either way. This is not to criticize his decision. This is to lean the other way. A full slate of games Sunday just might have been a tonic of sorts, a small but telling indication of America's resolve and character.
Look at us, all you in the rest of the world. We can do both, if necessary: deliver make-believe bombs on the football field and real ones abroad.
The NFL, alas, is not ready to do business. The same with Major League Baseball and the NHL.
No one in or outside sports is really ready to resume the business of America, the best place there is on earth. No one functions all that well with a broken heart. But function we must, however haltingly at first.
Brian Billick, coach of the Ravens, sounded an appeal to play before Tagliabue's decision.
"From a personal standpoint not as a coach but as an American we want to play," he said. "I don't want cowards to dictate what we do in this country."
That is the spirit, even if what we do in the short term is not going to be the same.
Many athletes have suggested that it will be difficult to return to work, whenever that will be. Join the nationwide club.
You do what you have to do. Some have pecked at a keyboard for a living this week. Others showed up to a neighbor's unfinished driveway the day after the attack to complete their work.
Did the awfulness being beamed on television put their work on the driveway in perspective?
They probably don't have the luxury to bloviate. They have to forge ahead as best as possible, as we all do, while not forgetting the horribleness.
The perpetrators of this unconscionable evil will get theirs, and hopefully, in short order.
That will be an assist to everyone's perspective.


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