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THE BOYS ON THE BUS
Gary Smith
September 24, 2001
To gauge sports' grip on US in a time of tragedy, the author took his son to a high school football game.
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September 24, 2001

The Boys On The Bus

To gauge sports' grip on US in a time of tragedy, the author took his son to a high school football game.

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"But you—what about you?"

"Yeah. I did. And I prayed in bed the other night for all the families."

"Was that the first time you've ever prayed—not at dinner with us, I mean, but on your own?"

"Uh...I guess."

"Might want to try that again."

"Yeah."

The metal stands beneath us began to shake from the stomping feet. The kickoff sailed through the night, and the crowd, as crowds are wont to do, roared. The Summerville offense quickly stalled. "Do you think we should go to war?" I asked Noah.

"No," he said. "I don't want to worry about getting bombed every night. I don't want to end up right dab in the middle of a war."

I loved that dab. I looked out as cheerleaders for the black-clad Knights cart-wheeled and flipped before us, and somehow I saw my high horse. I couldn't resist climbing on. "You know," I said to Noah, "a lot of people say we should have games right away so we can get back to normal as soon as possible. But maybe we shouldn't be in such a hurry for normal. Maybe we should stop for a while and think about whether we could do better than that. What if we started spending, say, only a quarter of the time we spend on sports and did something good for some of those families we saw on TV?"

He said nothing for a while. Then he asked, "Is that called a reverse?"

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