As a person who travels for work up to 35 trips per year, I have taken the male way of dealing with this tragedy. I have totally blocked it out. Please by all means do not get upset that I have totally erased the memory away or don't care. When you fly into Buffalo, you take two routes depending on wind and departure city. The lesser route is to hug the lake, circle just north of downtown, and make way to airport.
The route more traveled is to come up the Southern Tier and make your way directly for the corner of Main and Transit. The same route as 3407. Every time I come that way I get a small sinking feeling.
Could that have been me? The houses of Akron and Clarence begin to populate, I start to see the auto dealerships, see how busy Eastern Hills Mall is, and get ready to skim over the highway and touchdown. Ahh, finally home! As in the case last week, flying home from South Florida was a 90 degree swing with wind chill. Forget about the flight and get busy in life again.
So where am I going with this. The more that I cram away in my brain, the more I like to have my mind escape, get excited, and have a passion and belonging. Music and movies are great but it does not hit on all senses and emotions like sports for me. Women will not believe it but I like to watch sports to turn my brain off. I am looking to see who is the open winger, can he beat his man, judging arm strength, yell at ref for a weak call, and on and on. It feels good to be lost in a game.
Whenever you have a tragedy like the crash of Flight 3407, sports takes second place in the consciousness. The quibble over grown men still playing a boy's game getting paid beyond our wildest dreams temporarily takes a back seat. Or getting upset that college kids want cash and do not value the best free education, rooming, food, play a game you love, travel, and much more. But what about sports after the initial shock? It brings a city and human beings together as well as it can. When a tragedy strikes so slightly or briefly our sense of invincibility and the big block of time we still have on this earth comes into consciousness. Again, usually fleeting. We have work, a family, and sports to keep us occupied.
Look at the role sports have played after a tragedy. David Ortiz's "this is our bleeping city." Bush throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium after 9/11. Conversely, many are still upset to this day that the NFL played games only two days after Kennedy was shot. Why do men like sports? It makes us feel alive and for a short three hours, it takes away from worrying about the stock market, plane safety, and whatever else the media has us in frenzy over and connects me to others who share my pain and joy, and so much more.
Conrad, Tim, and Matt have also written pieces for the Bull Run Remembers Flight 3407 project. You can find them through the links below under "More From Bull Run."