We know sports and games can uplift, they can heal, they can give people a brief spurt of joy, a respite from real-world troubles. We saw it with Mike Piazza's post-9/11 home run at Shea Stadium, when the New York Mets defeated the Atlanta Braves. We saw it with the New York Yankees' dramatic World Series loss that same year. And there was finally joy in New Orleans when the Saints won the Super Bowl after the devastation of Katrina. But all of these moments and events came just at the right time -- none occurred too soon. Sunday's New York City Marathon that is still scheduled to go on? That is too soon.
There are still millions of people without power because of Hurricane Sandy, the monstrous Frankenstorm that lived up to its name. Many are scrambling for food, for gas, for warmth, for the basics of day-to-day living. The recovery from the storm is still in its infancy. Public transportation is still trying to get itself up and running. But Mayor Bloomberg wants the show to go on. And it should go on -- just not this Sunday.
Massive generators are being used to power the marathon's media center (though funded with private money). Countless policemen and other city officials will be called into duty when their resources should be used elsewhere. So people can run? Through the city that is now the picture of devastation? Homes have been destroyed. Others are still underwater. People have died. Streets have flooded.
The Mayor may have good intentions, but the area is still an open wound, still down and out (but of course will recover and thrive as always). We're still in emergency mode. So we're not quite there, not quite ready for the healing and feel-good burst of cheering on men and women running through the five boroughs.
Some day we surely will be. But not yet.