Super Bowl Sunday...
February 3, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 145
Patriots vs. The
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
New York City--Super Bowl Sunday! The Clash
of the Titans. Good versus Bad. Right over
Wrong. Hero versus Villain. Patriot versus Terrorist.
Today's football game, viewed by billions around the world,
is civilized combat. It pits one's favorite team
against one's enemy, the black versus white, the good guy versus
the bad guy.
of guns, bullets, bombs, anthrax, jetliners shooting toward
the Pentagon, Twin Towers and White House, a pigskin missile
is used. Crack Special Forces Teams in combat football
gear launch hand-to-hand combat against one another on a playing
field a hundred and twenty (120) yards long (including
two ten yard end zones), and a hundred and sixty(160) feet wide.
bomb, the bullet, the missile--weighs only 14-15 ounces (392g-420g).
It measures 11-11 1/4 inches on its long axis, and 28-28 1/2
inches from tip to tip. It is the Warriors Of The Gridiron's
ultimate purpose--to drive, plunge, batter and obliterate the
competition until the ball rests finally in the end zone - and
do it again.
I thought about
the battle about to be fought today. In one game,
the final outcome would be known to the world--there would be
a "winner" and a "loser." The
war of gladiators would be complete at the end of the fourth
quarter, or, if necessary, overtime. People
would come to the game, or curl up in front of their televisions,
or go to a sports bar with other fans, and cheer and hope and
rant and rave as their counterparts did thousands of years ago
in Rome at the Coliseum, rooting for the good guys, or the underdogs.
They boo and hiss the team they despise, or wish ill upon.
They would lean forward to hear the crunch of the Titans, and
some even hoping to hear the snapping of bones or get a close
up of blood so the scent of the kill could inspire them for
more "controlled violence," more proof of the victorious
nature of sports to pit the finest warriors on a field of battle.
Like the war against the
Terrorists, each man on the opposing team had a portfolio of
his adversary's weakness and strengths. The scouts
would have done their job, seeking intelligence against the
other team's offensive and defensive strategies, and each team
would target those soft spots and try and smash their human
tanks into them, opening holes through which their offense could
advance. It would be the Spartans of Vigilance
versus the Spartans of Vigilance, each team claiming their rights
to be the victor according to their own standards of competitive
In our war against Terrorism,
we forget the "other team" has the same passion of
"righteousness" to attack us, as we have to obliterate
them. While under civilized rules of war,
the unprovoked attack against innocent civilians is considered
an atrocity, to the enemy all civilians are the enemy.
Blinded by the pre-historic drive to kill all the competition,
the Terrorists operate outside the rules of civilized combat,
destroying women, children, the helpless, the weak.
Their victory is more psychological than physical, pitting one
world of thought against another, hiding behind the jihad of
righteousness to their actions.
I thought about
Osama bin Laden's warriors being invited to a football field.
The Al Queda versus the Patriots. Each team would
dress up in football combat gear after being body searched for
weapons. Then they would be unleashed on a football
field, coached on the American side by George Bush, the Patriot's
quarterback, versus bin Laden, the Terrorists commander-in-chief-of-the-pigskin.
The Terrorists would have
helmets shaped like turbans. America's helmets would be
adorned by eagles. They would play with a football
filled with the blood of all the dead on both sides, symbolic
of the price of war.
In the stands would sit the families
of all the victims of the war--the mothers, fathers, grandparents,
brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins of all the dead and
wounded from both sides. On the American side. The
stadium would be teeming with more than 100,000 human beings,
all suffering the losses of loved ones, relatives.
It would be a solemn game after
the anger, resentment and pain passed of watching the crowd's
reaction. After the hate passed, and the throats
of the fans of each side grew raw from cheering on their team,
the gravity of human violence against one another would settle
By half-time the families of
the two teams would have met at the hot dog stand, or in the
bathrooms. The children of the victims would have
met and found few differences between themselves, except perhaps
the color of their skin, or the garb they wore.
But the suffering would be the
same. The common thread of pain between the victims' families,
the children, the parents, the grandparents, brothers and sisters,
would know no righteousness. Each would be filled
with lead of war, the uselessness of violence, the waste of
human life, the emptiness of a mother, father, brother, sister,
cousin lost in a battle over ideology.
If all went well, toward the
Two Minute Warning of the fourth quarter, the stands would be
integrated with families speaking the universal language of
suffering, wailing and mourning their common Voices to stop
The Sentinels of Vigilance from both
sides of the world, the umpires and referees of the game, would
hear the din of the fans crying for an end to the violence.
The roar would grow to a deafening level, stopping the game.
The fans would start booing and hissing at both teams until
the violence was stopped. They would rush out onto the
field and rip open the football, and spread the blood of both
sides on the field, letting it soak down into the earth, a symbol
of the unity of the spirits of those who had died, and hope
that no more would--that children and parents and relatives
would return to their homelands, and stop the hate and rage
and bitter conflict--seeking more civilized, more safe ways
of resolving differences than the bombing and crushing of each
As I watch the Super Bowl
today, I will look for the Sentinels of Vigilance in the crowds
and on the playing fields.
I will think about the blood inside the football, and how one
cannot distinguish one drop of it representing "good"
or "bad," "right" or "wrong,"
"Terrorist" versus "Patriot."
I will know that it is all the same color--the color of grief,
of loss, of pain, of suffering.
I might cry during the
game, wishing there was no victor. I might even
turn it off, and pray for peace.
To Diary--Feb. 2--The Patriotic Mud Truck