On December 8, 1980, Howard Cosell announced to American football fans on Monday Night Football that John Lennon was shot and killed outside of his apartment in New York.
On May 1, 2011, Dan Schulman announced to America on Sunday Night Baseball (Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets) that Osama bin Laden had been found, caught, shot, and killed.
Sports are funny. Sports are petty. Sports are everything and nothing at the same time. Sports are an escape. Sports are a destination.
On Sunday night, a lone baseball game in Philly became the first step in a surprising unification of America… even if it was short-lived.
Bobby Valentine was in the broadcast booth that night. Nearly 10 years ago, on September 21, 2001, he was in a dugout in New York as the Manager of the New York Mets. It was the first baseball game played since the terrorist attacks on 9/11. You have to think there was a little closure for Bobby on Sunday night.
Rick Pitino hadn’t found closure in a decade, either. Pitino’s brother-in-law Billy Minardi was one of the nearly 3,000 Americans killed on 9/11. The Louisville Basketball Coach found some closure on Sunday night.
John Cena is a performer and sports entertainer. We used to call guys like Cena “professional wrestlers”. Cena has granted over 200 “wishes” for the Make-A-Wish Foundation (far and away the most by any celebrity) and has trekked to Iraq & Afghanistan as part of a personal USO Tour a multitude of times. His character on the wrestling show over the years morphed into a military-style character… and even filmed a movie called “The Marine”. Sunday night was a Pay-Per-View for the WWE and after the show was over, Cena grabbed a microphone, walked back out to the ring and in front of the tens of thousands of wrestling fans in attendance in Tampa that “The President has just announced that we have caught and comprimised to a permanent end.. Osama bin Laden.”
Chants of “U-S-A!” echoed in Bobby Valentine’s ears in Philadelphia. They echoed in Rick Pitino’s heart. They echoed down to the wrestling ring that John Cena stood next to.
It will echo forever.
(To LISTEN to how the Sports World reacted, click the link below):