- The Washington Times - Monday, September 24, 2001

The NFL revived its body-breaking game for an angry nation yesterday.

The game suits the mood of most Americans, not counting the incredibly enlightened drones in Washington, heard to be chanting, "An eye for an eye and the world goes blind."

The world already is blind, in case the drones missed the attack on America 13 days ago. They could use some slapping around, possibly to reconfigure their malfunctioning brain cells. Mr. Whitefolks, the pimp of HBO-sponsored fame, is just the person to serve his country by lending a well-placed back hand.

Pain usually sharpens the senses and hardens the resolve if it is administered up close. The staggering loss of life and rubble must not be close enough for a pitiful minority.

Would a hijacked jet that lands on their home help?

One of the pacifist prudes on Bill O'Reilly's television show the other night confirmed his lack of convictions by saying he was not there to engage in a fistfight. He also expressed a desire to understand the madness of Osama bin Laden, which is a madness in itself.

Something called the International Action Center is coming to the District this weekend to be a nuisance in the name of peace. The anti-war protesters apparently are too mentally inert to be embarrassed.

The terrorists already are at war with us. We either can defend ourselves or roll over.

No one is stopping the touchy-feely sorts from going to Kabul, Afghanistan, where they could release a flock of white doves in front of the Taliban.

We live in a free country, after all, the best country there is.

We normally are accustomed to our aggression being restricted to athletic engagements, except when Mike Tyson is involved in a fender bender.

Football contributes a certain hard-boiled clarity to America, with winners and losers, and passion all around. The havoc is highly choreographed, the language highly obtuse.

Marty Schottenheimer's back is not pressed against the wall yet, but he is working on it. He is giving 110 percent to the cause, which is 10 percent more than possible. Game 2 is tonight, if the Redskins can make it a game.

Football is the last refuge of testosterone in good times and a poor substitute in bad, which explains the vow of sports writers to excise war metaphors from their copy and give Gen. Sherman a well-deserved rest.

As the most famous arsonist in American history, Gen. Sherman would be stunned by the number of times his work has been cited in connection to the outcome of athletic contests. He might even appreciate it, as an urban-renewal planner ahead of his times.

Football is a darn good game, especially if you can relate to the primal urge to hit someone.

Fortunately, the heroes on United Airlines Flight 93 elected not to turn the other cheek. They fought the hijackers before crashing in a cornfield in Shanksville, Pa., saving an unthinkable number of lives, just not theirs.

Hero is another word receiving a thorough examination in the sports world, if only because its application has been altered from its exclusive origins.

Lance Armstrong, who beat cancer and then the top cyclists in the world, has asked that everyone exercise more care with the word after so many firefighters and law officers died while trying to help others.

The rush to find context is not easy amid the incongruency of war and what now passes for normalcy. The quest to sound the proper note is difficult.

"God is great," the big-lipped Julia Roberts said the other night, struggling mightily.

And we thank Him for our food.

Football makes no bones about what it is. It just breaks bones, and that proposition is perfectly acceptable to the practitioners. It is a tough, rugged game, a uniquely American game, perhaps too American to be embraced on a significant level by the masses abroad. They prefer the other football, the 1-0 game, and we can agree to disagree on what constitutes an appealing game.

It was good to have the NFL back; the controlled aggression, too.

You get hit. You hit back.

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