The Turnaround: 9/11, a day like no other

The Turnaround

by Jason Strunk
Lubbock High School Head Football Coach
Follow @WestTXCoach

We have put Dumas behind us and are now rolling towards our date with Estacado this
Friday night.

It’s always exciting to turn the page following Friday night.  We have new film to watch.  New
plans to unveil.  The whole process starts over and that is what makes football fun.  The dawn of a new day keeps the blood flowing.

We started off the week on a good note today.  We installed, walked through and started ironing out all of our new details for the game plan this week.

We are rolling into Week Four.  The season flies by fast.  Buckle up, it’s going to get crazy the next six weeks.

9/11

Yesterday was a reminder of what happened 15 years ago: our nation was attacked by terrorists.  It’s a tough day to re-live every 11th day of September.

I remember it vividly.  Crystal clear blue skies.  It was a great morning.  I even
remember being tired, because I stayed up late the night before watching Monday Night Football.   The Broncos played. Allentown Central Catholic (Pennsylvania) grad Ed McCaffrey, a Bronco WR, broke his leg in the game.

I was out and about on that Tuesday morning.  Really, the only thing different about that day was that it was perfect weather.  I mean perfect.  Then, sometime around 8:50 A.M. my wife Tracey called me and said a plane crashed into the WTC.  We both said, “That’s odd, it must be a small plane way off course.”  We talked for a few minutes and then we hung up.

Later, my wife called me back and said there are reports that it could have been a hijacked plane.  Almost instantly, my wife screamed, as she watched the second plane slam into the WTC.  From that moment on I can literally say it was the scariest day of my life.

My phone wouldn’t work.  All I would get was, “Sorry, all circuits are busy.”  The car radio switched over to all news broadcasts.  I was pulled over on a highway listening to the reports.  I remember hearing that the Pentagon was hit and thinking, oh my God we are all going to die.  That is exactly what I thought was going to happen.

In that moment, you forget that you have friends and family working in the city and either work in the World Trade Center or near it.  The panic was real.  My mother in-law watched the towers collapse from across the river.  It seemed like we were in the middle of bad
movie.

At home, my wife and new born son were waiting for my arrival.  Having a young son and a family was terrifying on that day.  Fighter jets streaked above our house.  Our whole world was flipped upside down.  It was terrifying.

Later at night, once we checked in on friends and family, it all started to sink-in. The towers lay in ruins, smoke billowing from the rubble.  It was all beginning to set-in.  Losing someone you know and knowing other friends and family could also be gone was a tough thing.

Every September 11th takes me right back to that fear.  It’s as if I can almost feel it setting in the night before.

Yesterday, the NFL kicked off its season.  Seeing players choosing to take a knee on this date was tough to swallow.  9/11 is about all of us standing together, not bowing down to terrorism.  Or in this case, taking a knee to terrorism. It was disgusting to see.

Take a knee on any other day, if that is what you choose, but 9/11 is different.  Our country was attacked by coward terrorists on this date.  9/11 isn’t about you and I know that may be hard to hear for certain NFL players.  It’s about our country uniting on that day in the face of terrorism.

I do know this; I will remember the real heroes of 9/11 and what that date stands for every year.  I won’t remember a bunch of NFL players taking a knee.  You can take that to the bank. That conversation won’t continue on with me.

That’s all I have. No randomness. Nothing else. Just a disappointed American today.

FIO.

About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.