Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Integration of Sport and Spirit on 9/11

For three days now, I have woken up to blue sky against the San Francisco skyline. This is a welcome change. For the entire month of August plus, the cold, gray fog clouded my vision. I have honestly asked myself "Why pull up the shade?" Still, each day I rise and open that window with the hope of a warmer hue on the horizon. Perhaps a gray sky would have foreshadowed all that was to be in Manhattan on September 11, 2001. Instead, New Yorkers always share that late summer day was anything but gray, the color of ash. No, it was a radiant blue—a color that served as an inspiration for what visitors will surely remember from the 9/11 Museum in Lower Manhattan.
Jimmy Dunne has accomplished much, both on the course and off.
I envy the residents of Dunne Hall, a dorm at ND named in his honor. What a legacy! 
As written on ArtNet.News
While the National September 11 Memorial Museum has a large collection of photographs, videos, articles, and artifacts related to the events of September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993, Spencer Finch is the only artist who was commissioned to create a new artwork for the institution.   
Finch’s work, Trying To Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning, is inspired by the memorably clear, intensely blue sky of that fateful morning, reports the New York Times. The work covers most of the central wall in the museum’s subterranean exhibition space. 
Though it may appear from a distance to be a stone mosaic, the piece comprises individual sheets of Fabriano Italian paper that the artist has hand-painted in different shades of blue with watercolors, hung like the missing person notices that filled the city’s streets in the days and weeks following the tragedy. Each of the 2,983 squares represents one of the victims of the 2001 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
No wonder Pope Francis paused here to pray. A unique color for each unique individual, which frame the words of the poet Virgil "No day shall erase you from the memory of time." Furthermore, every letter in each word was made from recovered World Trade Center steel, connecting what was with what we must know. 
The artwork speaks to my heart and my mind. The symbolism of the blue sky reminds me of the striking contrasts that life too often presents. The integration of the resources to create this art speaks to the intelligence and thoughtfulness of humanity. We work through the darkness, we find the light, we share the light. Indeed there is something sacramental about this space.

And so, I offer but a few thoughts on this 17th anniversary of 9/11. We still live with the tradgedy and loss of this day. For many, the sadness hit very close to home. For others, though distant, we mourn and remember, we recall and retell in our own way. The way I am able to do just that is through the integration of Sports and Spirituality. I continue to blog about this day in our nation's history because I must. Sports has and continues to provide a platform for symbols to speak....for a nation that is too often divided to stand together as one. Athletic contests offer venues for us to learn about the heroics of everyday people and for other heroes to create their own. Tonight, my students will read about Mark Bingham, a rugby player who died on Flight 93 and about Jimmy Dunne who lives today because of golf. 

We pray in thanksgiving for the life and legacies of both Bingham and Dunne. I will actively look for one in the next life (with the Lord) and I hope to play a round of golf at heaven here on earth with the other (he and I can debate whether or not that's the Lake course at Olympic or Shinnecock). Please watch this video shown during the 2018 US Open and share. 

A Prayer for Today:
Loving Creator, on this anniversary of the terrorism of 9/11/01, help us to know and to understand that lasting peace is a gift from you, but that is also a human work: the work of each one of us. Raise up among us peacemakers—men and women who will fight for peace. We trust in your mercy and love for us and for all people. —Father Richard Warner, C.S.C.

Past posting about Sports and Spirituality on 9/11
Photo Credits

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