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Kalani Simpson

Sidelines

By Kalani Simpson

Tuesday, September 18, 2001


The time is right for
the games to go on

WE'RE back. On TV, a guy legs out a triple. At the Honolulu Quarterback Club, we talk about sports.

In the Star-Bulletin, we run "Resumania." We have letters to the editor about other topics. There is regular news. Parking. Trials. Politics.

Yes, normalcy is slowly, subtly, surely creeping its way back into our lives. Little things are starting to matter again.

As much as little things can.

Our hearts are still heavy, and our respectful silences are several moments long. Flags are everywhere. Carnage and tragic heroism are still a click away.

We haven't forgotten.

But we're moving again.

We're playing again.

It's morning and we are awakening. Coming out of the stupor. The pain is still with us, but we are taking the first tentative steps.

We allow ourselves a laugh. A distraction. A break.

We deserve it. We need it.

That's what sports are for, and they are reopening this week.

We're playing again.

We're still here.

We are not afraid.

(Or at least we're not acting like it. We're trying to convince ourselves. What could there be to worry about if they're playing baseball?)

It's too soon, but then it will always be too soon. It's not soon enough, but it will never be soon enough.

Baseball started yesterday because a commissioner said so.

Pro football follows on Sunday because another commissioner agreed.

Who knows if the time is right, but it's as good a time as any. We've seen sports exposed as meaningless and silly and insignificant this week. But sports somehow have the ability to make our hearts soar.

We need a little bit of that right now.

Hawaii gets on a plane and heads for a Saturday football date at Nevada. And at the Quarterback Club we ask June Jones about injuries and running backs. We laugh with Vantz Singletary about his Subway commercial.

We find that for the hours each day Jones' team was together it could block out the week's horror and concentrate on the love. Love for the game. Love for each other.

"This opportunity to be together as a football team has brought us closer, too," he said.

This is what sports do, it is why we love them, and in these stolen seconds, we are free from tragedy's grasp.

Wave your flag, and give your blood. Watch the updates. Read about terrorists and economic forecasts and look at charts and maps. Grieve and mourn, and yeah, go ahead and worry if you feel like it.

But watch a game, too.

Lose yourself in the moment, in a good way, finally, and yell at the TV screen with joy: "Go! Go!"

It's OK. It doesn't mean that we've forgotten. We haven't forgotten. We can't forget.

In New York, a city still smokes, workers still work. In the wreckage, hope fades by the minute, replaced by prayers.

And on the television screen, the runner rounds second and steams into third.



Kalani Simpson's column runs Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
He can be reached at ksimpson@starbulletin.com



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