Remember September

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I never saw the Twin Towers. In fact, I don’t even think I was aware of them until September 11th.

That Tuesday was my generation’s equivalent to the day JFK was assassinated. It finally shattered our innocence, even though there were already cracks there. (By that time, the children of the ’80s and ’90s had already witnessed the Oklahoma City bombings, a presidential sex scandal and Columbine.)

I was in fifth grade. In my memories it was a rainy morning and sunny afternoon, though I don’t know for sure. I remember classmate after classmate being called to the office for early dismissal. At first it seemed like a strange coincidence, but then there were rumors of a serious storm. My teacher was reluctant to say anything, but she eventually told us a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I guess she hadn’t seen the news yet, because after she explained to our class what the WTC Towers were, it sounded like it was just a small plane. That it was an accident. It wasn’t until my mom turned on the news after school that I became aware of the reality- that terrorists had turned two jetliners into missiles.

The attacks were of course a defining moment in American history. Life has been split up according, before-9/11, after-9/11. I never got to see the old New York, with its stunning skyline. Sure, the city has moved on and is as energetic and insane as ever, but I’m sure it’s not the same. I can only imagine how it feels to be a real New Yorker, especially one that lost someone or had to walk by the site everyday. When I first came to New York, in 2004, I did have the chance to visit Ground Zero. It remember it being so striking and overwhelming because in a city of millions it was so empty.

Tomorrow, the 9th anniversary (already), has in a way been tainted by recent controversies. Namely, the proposed mosque in downtown New York and the plans for a small Florida church to burn copies of the Qur’an, the central text of Islam. For different reasons, both of these issues had ignited firestorms. However, they are obstructing the real matter at hand – honoring those were killed on September 11th, and those survivors and families whose lives have forever been changed. I feel like the victims wouldn’t want the rest of us spewing out such angry and hateful words. To quote Love Actually:

“When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge- they were messages of love.”

Tomorrow, we need to keep those affected by 9/11 in our thoughts and prayers. But maybe more so, we need to remind our loved ones about how much we care, because we might not always have the chance.

~ Sarah

So Long, South Florida

Instead of my usual Link Love post, I’m going to do something a little different this Monday. My summer is sadly winding down. I fly up to New York on Wednesday and I start classes next week. This may be my last post for awhile, because things always get so hectic at the beginning of the year. I’m kind of excited to start studying again, but I’ve also had a great summer at home. I came back from New York with a newfound appreciation for my home. Of course, there are still the things that get on my nerves, like the heat and tropical storm updates at the beginning of every newscast. But this what I’ll miss the most:

♥ My family

♥ My friends

♥ My lovely dogs, Sammy and Lucy

♥ Publix- Where Shopping Is A Pleasure

My library

♥ Seeing college football merchandise everywhere (It’s All About the U)

Sawgrass Mills Mall

Latin American food

♥ Anything mango-flavored

♥ Always having access to the beach- even if I went once

♥ My internship and my awesome co-workers

♥ Cheap movies

♥ Marlins baseball

♥ The Y

♥ Listening to sports talk radio with my dad

♥ A/C everywhere!

♥ My mom’s Tempur-Pedic mattress

♥ Palm trees

♥ Seeing color everywhere! The trees, the grass, the flowers, the sky!

♥ The Publix Bakery

Orlando

♥ My room

♥ My wonderful high school teachers

♥ Walking around barefoot on my tiled floor

♥ Not having to pay for my groceries

♥ Orange juice!

♥ Not having to hoard bananas

♥ Watching the evening news

It’s the little things that count. What do you miss most when you’re away at school?

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See you at Christmas, Miami!

~ Sarah

The Day After

He looks snarky, doesn't he?

If you had told me a week ago that LeBron James would’ve abandoned the city of Cleveland for South Beach, I probably wouldn’t have taken you seriously. Yeah, I didn’t think LeBron would stay with the Cavaliers. And sure, I knew that the Heat were courting the King, but I was too distracted by D-Wade’s free agency. And even when Wade did announce his intent to stay in Miami, and buzz around LeBron built up, I wrote that I didn’t think he would end up in Miami.

Turns out, I was wrong.

I kind of figured that out yesterday when ESPN’s sources began reporting that LeBron was heading to the Heat. James’ choice went from the best-kept secret in sports to the worst-kept one overnight. I was far from pleased with this development, though. I’ve never been a fan of LeBron: he always seemed selfish, egotistical, and unsportsmanlike. Maybe it was already his personality or the media hype influenced him, but LeBron carries himself with a “holier-than-thou” attitude. After all, he’s the “Chosen One”.

With Bosh and Wade, I didn’t see Pat Riley and the Heat needing another top player. Besides, I didn’t think Miami would be appealing to LeBron. Sure, he could play ball with a couple of Olympic buddies. But why wouldn’t he want to build a team in Cleveland (or another city) around himself, instead of fitting into Miami’s puzzle? And what does that say about his competitive edge? Plus, he’d be second-fiddle to Wade. I know LeBron is the back-to-back league MVP, but go ahead and ask A-Rod who’s the fan favorite in the Bronx. Wade essentially owns Miami, and that’s why he was the Heat’s first priority, not LeBron, thank you very much. (Unless you buy into those rumors of collusion, in which case Wade is at least equally as important as James.)

All this brings us to Thursday night. Being the King and all, James couldn’t sit down for a regular interview or- God forbid- have a press release. No, he had to have a one-hour ESPN special trainwreck, “The Decision”, to publicly break the hearts of all but one team. If free agency wasn’t already a media spectacle, this special sealed the deal. In the words of the ridiculously (and perhaps justifiably) bitter Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, it was a “several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up”. (The fact that the proceeds from the commercial spots went to the Boys & Girls Club is extraneous to me. He could’ve helped out the foundation without turning everything into a three-ring circus.)

After leading us on for a good twenty, thirty minutes, LeBron James finally announced “The Decision”- South Beach. Of course, South Florida erupted as if we just won the NBA Championship. (Not even close to a done deal, by the way.) I can’t say the rest of the country feels the same jubilation, or even the rest of Florida. (I can’t wait for a renewed intensity in the Magic-Heat rivalry, by the way.) While I never wanted to be a “witness”, I now have put aside my dislike for LeBron and root for my hometown team. And trust me, it’s hard not to get caught up in all this excitement about the Heat- there’s no escape from this party.

I’m very cautiously optimistic about this team, solely because I’m not sure LeBron will be able to put aside his ego and accept not being number one. Of course, I hope I’m proven wrong. There’s no feeling in the world like watching your team bring home a championship.

No matter what happens with Wade & Co., the free agency frenzy and “The Decision” will be remembered as turning points in NBA, sports, and media history. We’ve never seen anything like this before, and we’ve only just started seeing the repercussions. Plenty of things will be written in the coming days, weeks, maybe even years about how this shaped the league, LeBron’s legacy, Riley’s legacy, the city of Cleveland, basketball in New York, and so on. Let’s just hope this turns out to be something positive not only for Miami, but for the NBA and the rest of sports.

~ Sarah