Sept. 7, 2004
We had little time to celebrate our first victory; the next morning we flew out once again. This time we were headed across the country to face soccer power-houses UConn and St. John's. For sure this would be a tough trip, but it's these tough games that mark the schedule of a champion. Not only would this be an early prep run to get us ready for Pac 10's, but the trip would also provide some vital out of region experience.
The last time your Washington Huskies visited Connecticut was in 2001. Players like Ben Somoza and Billy Sleeth led the team of the past to a one-nil victory and if I remember right, it was Brett Weisner who scored the goal- his first goal as a Husky. This year we met with similar success. Another one-nil victory off of a Casey Armstrong header proved that this team could compete with the big boys. The next morning we headed to New York- tired, but feeling good.
Because our game at St. John's was in the evening, we had a few hours in the afternoon to explore the Big Apple. After a fifteen minute van ride we found ourselves staring at a barren, twenty acre lot in the middle of the city. We were staring at Ground Zero. Many view the site as a reminder of terror. They remember 9-11 as the day of the nefarious attempt to punish a nation. I couldn't help but think of the heroes that emerged that afternoon. The men and women of flight 93, the firefighters, the policemen…there were many Americans that day that come to mind. New York mayor Rudy Giuliani labeled them 'working class heroes'. I like that. Our nation isn't made up of Supermen. We don't have a 'bat signal' to shoot off into the night sky. We have something better; we have men like Eric Allen. Eric was one of the firefighters who gave his life that day. I saw his name on a memorial at the site.
When we're in the middle of season its easy to forget there's more going on than soccer. Seeing Ground Zero reminded me of this. That night we lost our first game at St. John's, but maybe losing a soccer game isn't that big of a deal.
Quote to live by: "Check out this website- http://www.september11victims.com/september11victims/victims_list.htm Click on a few of the names." Joe Birklid