Ten years ago today, something happened that shook my world to the core.
“You can see debris…sticking out from the side of the -” said a radio announcer in my English class that morning before our teacher switched it off. We were supposed to listen to a book on tape. We all wanted to hear what the radio had to say instead. One class period later, we were informed that two airplanes had crashed into the World Trade Center. I went numb.
I had a full panic attack later in the day when I remembered that my father was on a plane to Chicago that morning. I soon found out that he was safe, but his plane left from Newark two gates away from United Flight 93. He saw those people’s faces. He saw those astounding heroes who fought back that day.
Dad and his business co-workers drove home in a rental car from Chicago and made it home that night. I remember sobbing when I knew he was safe and sobbing again as I embraced him as he walked through the door.
Several days later, Dad, Mom, my brother Tom and I were gathered on the couch watching the Mets together. That was when Mike Piazza hit a home run that saved a city.
That is still one of the strongest baseball memories I have in my entire life. The ball soared out to center over the 410 mark at Shea. The apple rose. The crowd roared. To this day, when I see that home run, I start to cry. Mike Piazza restored the vitality to my city. He gave us a gift that I will never forget. Seeing the Mets fans at Shea stand up and cheer for something after the horrible disaster that befell New York meant the world to my family and I at that moment. It still does ten years later.
It’s moments like that where baseball really reminds me just how amazing it really is. Sports are in general, in fact. When Japan won the Women’s World Cup this year, I got tears in my eyes. I knew that victory would help ease the pain in their nation the way Mike Piazza’s home run did for mine ten years ago. The healing power of sports keeps people going.
Thank you, Mike Piazza, for returning some normalcy to my life, and thank you for providing me with some extra closure ten years later. I’ll never forget.