As I said on the radio more than once last week, I had reservations about going back to work so soon after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But I quickly realized that as much as we provide entertainment at ESPN, we also provide information.
With that in mind, it was much easier to bear down and get to work. We all play different roles in this country, and we usually don't have to think too hard to do our jobs. After some deliberation, I could again see where what we do fits into the big picture.
Last week, we provided information on the growing slate of cancellations in the sports world. We also tried to give perspective on the events as they played out in front of us. ESPN often simply gave way to ABC News in an effort to do the right thing: get out the information as quickly and accurately as possible.
It's too soon to know exactly how, but not too soon to know that last Tuesday's events will change life in this country forever.
This week will be different. The games are slowly coming back, starting with some National League baseball Monday night. By Sunday, the NFL will have returned as well. So ESPN will slowly return to what it usually does, with highlights and game reactions and X's and O's coming back.
But the oft-heralded "return to normalcy" will be much harder to gauge. First of all, we have to accept that our definition of "normal" will be changing. It's too soon to know exactly how, but not too soon to know that last Tuesday's events will change life in this country forever. It's as if we are in a familiar place, but it's dark. We know where we are but we will keep bumping into things for a while. Until we get our bearings. Only time will tell when we will feel "normal" again.
Right now we are showing our colors as a country. The red, white and blue are flying all around us. Those colors bind us together and make us stronger. But at ground zero in New York, the colors are black, white and gray. The whole scene has a dullish, muted tint. The only sense of vibrancy is the occasional spark from a welder's torch.
So while we may make the first steps toward healing and recovery at some ballparks Monday night, the journey we are undertaking will be a long one. Sports will provide some respite from the new burden we all face: the search for the new "normal."