Catholic High cross country coach Pete Boudreaux chose his words carefully as he looked into the faces of runners at Episcopal’s 43rd Round Table Run on Saturday morning.
Boudreaux was tasked with providing context for commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Since none of the runners were born when the terrorist attacks took place, Boudreaux offered a Yogi Berra-like opening.
“You know what it is, but you don’t know what it is,” Boudreaux said. “You’ve heard a lot about resiliency people have shown after (Hurricane Ida). Our country was devastated on 9/11. There was resiliency.
“The United States had never been attacked before. When the first plane hit the World Trade Center, everyone, including all the news people, thought a plane had messed up. I was with my classes at schools watching on TV. When we saw the second plane hit the building, we all just gasped.”
The competitors were awaiting the post-race awards ceremony. They watched and listened intently as Boudreaux explained how 9/11 impacted airport security and other facets of our lives today.
You could see on the faces of adults in the crowd the knowing glances. All of us remember where we were when the 9/11 attacks happened. We all remember the days that followed too.
Before the pandemic, the first post 9/11 days marked perhaps the first time that the nation was unsure if sports would be able to comfort us. Some feared that a national event, like an NFL game or a large college game, could be another target.
But we united in special ways. Locally, high school sports events, including football games, played on. Smaller crowds and venues provided a chance to display some of that resiliency and unity.
I was proud to watch those games and of all the athletes I interviewed in the days that followed. They were eager to play. And on Saturday, I was proud to listen as Boudreaux and Episcopal coach Claney Duplechin related their 9/11 stories.
This was not just another race day. It was a day to teach, remember and share. The commemorative T-shirts given to the top finishers featured a 9/11 skyline.
We always like to say that the sky is the limit for our young people. But let us never forget that other skyline — from 9/11 — as we push to be the best we can be.
Week 3 shuffle
Are you ready for the Week 3 football shuffle? Some Baton Rouge area schools certainly are.
East Ascension has picked up a Thursday game with Brother Martin. The Crusaders will be the second ranked opponent in as many weeks for the Spartans. EAHS hosts Brother Martin on Thursday at Dutchtown.
Istrouma also will welcome a New Orleans team, Class 4A M.L. King Charter, Friday. Signs that things are returning to normal include Dutchtown hosting Covington and St. Amant hosting Kennedy on Saturday at Dutchtown.
Lutcher is primed to make its return after two weeks off and is seeking an opponent.
20 for 20
Before Catholic’s win over Acadiana on Friday night there was a 20-second period of silence for former star Kevin Clay-Franklin, who lost his battle with COVID-19 on Sept. 3.
Franklin famously wore No. 20 during his career. The Bears also won 20-0.