Since Mike Wise wrote that nice piece Friday morning about the harrowing Sept. 11 stories of Bruce Boudreau and John Thompson, I thought I’d chip in the thoughts of Marty Schottenheimer, who was leading the Redskins that season.
“I remember with great clarity what went on that entire day,” Schottenheimer told CSN Washington. “As I reflect back, there was a great great sense of both sadness and frustration with the events that had transpired. I remember the concern that our players had for those families....I don’t think there’s an American, or quite candidly many people from around this world, that don’t have some moment of angst and anxiety about what took place there.”
The clip above also shows Schottenheimer reacting on Sept. 12, something I don’t remember at all. But it turns out that Marty can speak pretty well on the topic; he will also be on Sirius/XM Mad Dog Radio’s sport-themed special, “9/11 and Sports,” that will air several times this weekend. One of the questions concerned balancing the triviality of sports with the knowledge that people were looking to the Redskins for relief.
“You know, my recollection was that we said the thing we have to do is we have to focus on the things that give us an opportunity to be better as a team,” Schottenheimer said. “We’re focused on what we’re doing, and it then distracts us from all of these bizarre things that are going on around us.
“Everybody, I think, probably looks at it in a little different light. Myself personally, I felt this strong urge to embrace my family, my friends, my coaches, my players. I just had this sense that we needed to make sure that we were considerate of one anothers’ personal feelings, and that it would be important to provide comfort for those people that may have been directly affected.”
Schottenheimer also talks on the program about his own personal feelings that month.
“The reality of it was that our country was brought under attack by people who had a total disregard for the meaning and value of life and family and friendships, and to me I find that appalling,” he said. “I’m not a particularly political person, but to me, I continue to look at what goes on over in the Middle East. And I’ve got to say, somewhere, someplace , somehow, sometime, somebody’s got to find a common ground.”
Then he was asked whether he was surprised that people would make such a big deal about football in the light of such serious events.
“You know, it did not surprise me,” Schottenheimer said. “Because the true fan of sport...those individuals, they live, I think, vicariously through the play and the energy that’s a product of the great sport of professional football. And therein lies the solace and the comfort that’s necessary when you find yourself immersed in this kind of circumstance.”