As the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks comes and goes, many Murray State students will reflect on the infamous day and how it affected them personally. Sports fans can look back and see changes on the sporting landscape as well.
The tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 affected fans in real ways.
Those old enough to remember the catastrophic attacks of that day also remember how easily one could get into sporting events without being personally searched. They can recall the luxury of gathering at a crowded stadium without giving a second glance to airplanes flying low overhead. Certain things like safety and peace of mind were not often factors of attending a ball game.
Sept. 11 changed things forever. In a way, the innocence of sports fans was taken. The feelings of assumed safety at large sporting venues, which were otherwise taken for granted, are in some measure gone for good.
Matt Masterson, junior from St. Louis, Mo., was in fifth grade when the events of Sept. 11 unfolded. He said he remembers the day being strange and confusing.
“I was in class, and we all had to leave the building,” he said. “I remember we got out of school the rest of the day.”
Masterson said even his elementary school’s baseball team had to cancel games in the uncertain days following the attacks.
“I played baseball,” he said. “We didn’t get to play for the next few games.”
Masterson said as a child and a sports fan, the news reports he saw were hard to take in and assimilate. He said at first it was difficult to understand the complexities of the situation and to relate how the events should affect him.
“It was weird because I was that young, especially since I was watching it all on TV,” he said. “It was almost like just watching a movie. It didn’t seem real. It was pretty crazy.”
The ensuing crackdown of security at public buildings was evident everywhere, including stadiums and college campuses. Masterson said he continues to see the increase in security everywhere.
“Even when I go to church now there’s a lot more security,” he said. “Everything is more locked down now.”
Even with all the tension that 9/11 provided, Masterson said he believes sports have been something that has allowed people affected by the disaster to heal. He said he hopes families who gathered to watch their favorite teams found comfort in being together.
“Even people who lost family members talk about getting closer to other family members, and sports is a way that people can get closer together,” he said.
Masterson said even as a child, he saw how Americans rallied around each other and the families of victims after 9/11. He said sports were just one way strangers leaned on each other during one of the nation’s greatest crisis.
“Everybody seemed to get closer,” Masterson said. “You’re already close to family, but after that, it seemed like everyone sort of became family because of what happened.”