Posted by Jack Patterson
I originally was working on another post, debating the best crowds in recent memory, but in light of the tragic events Monday afternoon in Boston and last night in Central Texas, I thought this would be more fitting. This is not about who did what or what political stance to take or anything. This is something special. This is about those moments that sports and WWE and how those two things bring our nation together in a time of tragedy. This is a snapshot of my life and thoughts since 3:00 ET Monday afternoon.
Monday afternoon and here I am in the News 3 sports office, holding a conversation with our weekend anchor Dayne and our chief photographer Kevin. We were talking about the Cubs and how they STILL weren’t doing anything impressive and that Kevin needed to come on and be a Braves fan like the rest of us. As I get ready to leave the room, I noticed that CBS News (I work at a CBS station) had broken into network programming for breaking news. As we leaned in to see what was going on, then the three of us collectively gasped at what the “L3″ graphic read: “Explosion at Boston Marathon Finish Line.” All of a sudden, the three of us, jovial and relaxed just moments earlier, were in total shock. Suddenly, a normal day, not just in Boston, but around the country, was shattered.
Monday night/Tuesday morning: I finally get home from a chaotic day of tragedy, mourning and pandemonium in the newsroom around Midnight. Myself and one of my good friends (and fellow WNW reader) Matt Brown had a lengthy discussion about what happened, but with the same context. Below is what I sent out that night:
Today was one of those days in the TV business that tests your emotions, your professionalism, among other things. We are heartbroken and saddened for the tragedy and losses at the marathon, but we must stay composed and bring the story to you. Today also shows the strength and solidarity of Boston and our nation as a whole. In the worst of times, the people acted and shined. So as I head to sleep tonight, I say a prayer for all affected. Today was a trying day for all. Props to Boston’s TV stations as well. And no matter how hard we get hit, that city and this nation are never out. Tomorrow the sun will shine…and we will stand as one. It maybe too late tonight, but tomorrow and every night going on, tell your family/friends how much you love them. Because tomorrow’s not promised. Live life to its fullest. Much love to all and good night. See you at 5, 6 and 11. #mediamvp #prayforboston
-Jack Patterson (@jp_mediamvp) on Twitter, April 15.
As we went to Tuesday and more details started to come out, I couldn’t help but think of the last time something of this nature happened in our borders. Yes, I am talking about September 11, 2001. But not directly. I am more referring to September 13, 2001. Looking puzzled? Let me go into detail. 9/11 was on a Tuesday. NFL cancelled that Sunday’s games. MLB followed suit. NASCAR pushed that week’s race at New Hampshire to Thanksgiving weekend, the week after the season ended. So there were not any major gatherings for nearly 2 weeks…except for the WWE (at the time WWF). Back then, SmackDown! was on Thursday nights on UPN (which we now know as the CW) at 8:00. As a kid (I was 9 years old in the 4th grade), I was kinda puzzled by it all. I knew something wasn’t right, but I didn’t know why. I found out what it was all about on this night. On this night, in the heat of the WCW/ECW Alliance vs. WWF angle, all of the superstars came down the ramp at the beginning of the show, with JR welcoming us to the show, which was live from the Compaq Center in Houston. Two things stood out to me: First, the absolutely beautiful rendition of the “Star-Spangled” Banner by Lillian Garcia, who was the interviewer for Smackdown! at the time. The second and most important to me was the defiant and patrotic speech that Vince McMahon gave, as only Vince could. That is when I started to feel “everything was going to be okay.”
Fast forward back to last night. If you haven’t seen this, you need to. This was the scene at the TD Garden last night, before the Buffalo Sabres-Boston Bruins game. Rene Rancourt, who has sung the national anthem time and time again for Bruins games, started to sing it again. He didn’t make it through the third sentence before this happened.
I watched that live and I found myself singing along with them. Something about sports that can bring the nation together in a time of mourning. It was said the best on Smackdown!:
“We are here to entertain you. And that is what these marvelous men and women of sports entertainment fully intend to do in the next two hours.”
-Jim Ross, from WWF Smackdown, September 13, 2001
I say all of that to say this:
This is a proud nation and we will support our own, no matter what any outside force may try to do to shatter our peace of mind, we will stay strong. We showed in 2001 that we would not back down and we didn’t. This week, for those who may have thought that you can bring our great nation down, were greatly disappointed again.
Fast forward to today. During the 5pm news, I saw that the FBI has photos of two suspects. Let me be the first to tell you that you are completely screwed. You will be brought to justice.
I will be back to my regular “Slam Diary” posts later this week. I thank all of you for reading as always. Feel free to comment, all I ask is to use common sense when posting. You can also follow me on Twitter, @jp_mediamvp.
Good night and God Bless Boston, Central Texas and the USA.- JP
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