The world can be a rough place at times. Terrorists try to defeat us, but pure willpower helps us to endure. There is one thing that has consistently been there to help us through it all—sports. Sports have the power to heal the world. Here are five times that sports helped heal the world.
5 Times That Sports Helped Heal the World
5) Syrian World Cup Hope
Civil War in Syria is destroying the country from within. Constant bombings and airstrikes are destroying buildings and homes, leaving people without a place to call home. In February of 2016, the Syrian Centre for Policy Research estimates that there have been upwards of 470,000 casualties in the conflict. With the conflict ongoing, the U-17 Syrian National Soccer Team aims to give the struggling country hope. Against all odds, the young team won the 2015 U-17 World Cup, bringing joy, and in some ways hope, to the people of Syria. A Syrian Embassy Official stated, “The participation of our young team in the FIFA under 17 World Cup means a lot to us. It means that the Syrian institutions are still functioning in a healthy way, despite the terrorist war that has devastated our country.”
4) The Paris Attacks
November 13, 2015, terrorists struck Paris, France, killing 137 people in a series of coordinated attacks. It was the largest terrorist attack in the country’s history. As the country mourned, all eyes were turned on to the French National Football Team. Just four days after the attack, the team stepped on to the pitch at Wembley Stadium for a match against their rivals, England. That night, the game was different. Instead of hatred in the stands, there was love. Fans of both countries came together in a time of grief. When time came for the playing of the National Anthems, Wembley lit up in France’s colors, and lyrics to ‘La Marseillaise’ were put on the video screen. Looking into the stands, all spectators could see was an ocean of red, white, blue, the color of the French flag. The national anthem of France was sung loudly by Brits and Frenchmen alike. The patriotism was much needed.
3)The Night Osama Bin Laden Died
May 1st, 2011, was a night many will never forget. President Barrack Obama announced to the United States that Osama Bin Laden, the man behind the September 11th attacks, was killed in a raid conducted by U.S. Navy SEALs. At the same time, a baseball game between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies, which is a rivalry game, was occurring. This was the only major league game that night across all U.S. sports. During the bottom of the 8th inning, it became apparent to the game’s broadcasters that Bin Laden had been shot and killed. All of a sudden, the game took a backseat to American History. At the end of the 8th inning, the broadcasters announced to the crowd at Citizens Bank Park that Bin Laden was dead. Soon enough, the ninth inning started, and chants of “USA!” erupted around the ballpark. Players on the field had no idea what was going on at the time. After the ninth inning, game tied at 1, players were finally told of the news. The Phillies ended up losing in their home stadium, but at that point in time, it didn’t matter. America’s number one enemy was dead, and that was something many had reason to cheer for.
2) The Homerun Heard ‘Round the World
September 11th, 2001—a day of loss, grief, sorrow, and somberness. A terrorist organization flew two planes into both of the towers at the World Trade Center in New York, as well as the Pentagon and an open field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The death toll of that day is 2,996, making it the worst terrorist attack on U.S soil. The whole world was in disbelief, especially New York. The city that never sleeps seemed quiet. It needed a rejuvenation. Mets player Mike Piazza did just that. 10 days after the attack, the New York Mets came home. It was the first sports team to play in New York after the attack. The Mets were playing the Braves in a tight race for the pennant. It was the bottom of the 8th when Mike Piazza stepped up to the plate. The Mets were trailing 2-1. A pitch was thrown and Piazza swung. There was a moment of silence across Shea Stadium as everyone heard the crisp crack of a bat. The ball soared deep to center field, and over the wall. It was a home run, that gave the Mets a 3-2 lead. It was enough to win the game. The home run gave people a reason to cheer again, and put smiles on peoples faces, included uniformed firefighters and police men and women.
1) Boston Strong
Boston Strong, a phrase people clung to following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, was a movement sweeping across Boston and the surrounding areas. On April 15th of 2013, two brothers bombed the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three, including an eight-year-old boy. A manhunt followed, which led to the deaths of two police officers, and one of the brothers. The other brother was brought into custody and sentenced to death. The attack wounded more than 280 people. The city was resilient, and got through it together, with the help of Boston’s beloved sports teams. The Bruins were the first game back in the city. During the National Anthem, the singer was cut off, and the entire Boston Garden erupted in song, singing the National Anthem. In a time of hurt, one thing was clear- Boston was going to get through this. Days later, the Red Sox returned. Before the game, David Ortiz (a.k.a. Big Papi) stepped onto the diamond with a microphone, and gave one of the most motivating and memorable speeches in sports history. The speech is best known for where he said, “This is our f**ing city, and nobody gunna dictate our freedom!” The confidence was just what the city needed. The Red Sox went on to win the World Series, and did it in honor of the victims of the attack.
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