It was one of those defining moments that won’t soon be forgotten. The pride, the unity and the presence of our forefathers seemed to align in a starless night Sunday in Philadelphia, of all places.
With the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets tied 1-1, a cool breeze began whispering throughout Citizens Bank Ballpark during the bottom of the 8th inning. Like a high school locker room rumors quickly consumed the hora of the game when news of Osama bin Laden’s death began circling throughout the stands in South Philly where only the most vicious acts of fan hood seem to happen.
With fans glued to their cell phones oblivious that the Phillies and Mets were creeping closer to extra innings, a low buzz began.
This buzz although low would grow into something bigger than anyone could imagine.
The scenerio could only truely be captured through the eyes of a big green Dr. Seussian creature and I don’t mean the Phanatic.
“And the Grinch put a hand to his ear. And he did hear a sound rising over the snow. It started in low. Then it started to grow… But the sound wasn’t sad! Why, this sound sounded merry! It couldn’t be so! But it WAS merry! VERY! He stared down at Who-ville! The Grinch popped his eyes! Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise!”
Much like the Grinch expecting the worse from the Who’s, the nation turned up the volumes on their television sets, radios and computers looking on at the ‘barbarians’ of Broad Street.
Expecting the worse.
But there were no batteries, no snowballs or tasers in sight. No vomit or hecklers or boos in the night. What the rest of the nation got from the only gathering of sports fans left on May 1, 2011 had to be an unexpectedly humbling experience.
Fans of all creeds, religions and team colors began to chant in unison:
For one defining moment in Philadelphia, the apparent Mecca of all that is wrong with the “fan” became a sybol of all that it just in America.
For one moment we all felt that same chill.
A feeling of pride where Phillies and Mets fans alike became one for the first and perhaps the last time. But for that one night we were all part of something bigger than us, bigger than baseball and even bigger than our country. We were a part of a universal plea for justice.
Fittingly enough the events that unfolded this crisp spring night did so during America’s greatest pastime.
Baseball, a game that is so much more than just a game. It’s the chance for a grown man to feel like a little boy again. It’s a humbling game where grown men are reduced to tears, where the grips of old age take even our greatest heroes and the triump of the human spirit endures.
Ironically enough, the real heroes were the ones who weren’t here. The are the ones who long to be home with their families, friends and at the ballpark.
What will you say 50 years from now when asked where you were the night Osama bin Laden , the face of terrorism was declared dead?
If you were one of the proud fans left at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia Sunday night you’ll never forget.