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December 06, 2001

Our games can wait
By Rob Dibble

In seeing what America is going through right now, I can't imagine that anyone "needs to be entertained." And nearly all of the major sporting institutions seem to agree; throughout the day Thursday another cancellation or postponement was announced. Our games can wait.

How do we balance our need to go on with our need to remember? When we get back to playing our games, I'd like to see them dedicated to the people who tragically died and to their families.
As a former Major League Baseball player and a former entertainer, I knew when we played the 1991 baseball season that it was for more than just wins and losses. In some ways, what happened Tuesday in New York and Washington and Pennsylvania reminded me of the start of the Gulf War and going to spring training with the country still at war.

We ended up finishing the season with troops still in the Middle East. I also remember that First Lady Barbara Bush spoke to us at the 1990 World Series.

I remember being as proud then as I am now to be an American. I know each and every one of us was playing for those soldiers. I know what it meant to us to wear American flags on our chests, representing why our men and women were fighting: for us and for our safety and our freedom.

I know I speak for every American who is praying for the families of all the victims, both alive and dead. We are faced with difficult decisions about how and when to honor our fellow Americans. When do we play our games again? How do we balance our need to go on with our need to remember? How do we show these despicable terrorists that they have not defeated us while acknowledging the reality of the destruction and the lives that were lost?

During 1991 I received lots of cards and letters from service people at home and abroad. One common thread was that I and my fellow baseball players, in the smallest of ways, made these heroes think of home, freedom and the American way. Baseball, football, golf, whatever. It doesn't matter what sport it is. What matters is that they are American and are a small reminder of the freedoms we enjoy in this country, the freedoms that were attacked on Tuesday.

When we get back to playing our games, I'd like to see them dedicated to the people who died in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania and to their families -- and to the men and women who will once again fight to protect our rights as Americans.

So we shouldn't be talking about when we will play again. That will take care of itself. We will know when it's time. As a country, let's talk about, and remember, some of the reasons why we play.

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