A New View

Jason Campos

When I woke up last Saturday, I was a little bit nervous.

With the country still extremely uneasy after the terrorist attacks of September 11, a call came in from Attorney General John Ashcroft to Governor Jane Swift and Mayor Tom Menino warning that threats had been issued by unnamed individuals that the City of Boston would suffer some sort of disaster on Saturday the 22nd. Although both Swift and Menino were to later call the threats as “uncredible,” it did not put my mind at ease at all. I had planned to come to UMass to cover two games. I must admit, I was very apprehensive about going out that day.

Nevertheless I got in my car and drove here. I arrived on campus about noon. The men’s soccer team was playing Plymouth State College of New Hampshire, and the women’s tennis team was taking on Western State Connecticut. As I made my way to the soccer field, I noticed the countless groups of people that had come to UMass to partake in the festivities of the annual Boston Folk Festival. They were smiling and laughing. Whether they were as nervous as I was, I couldn’t tell. They were here to enjoy themselves and they certainly did.

As the games got underway shortly after one 1 p.m., I began to relax. The day was sunny and warm. A crowd of adults and children had gathered to watch the games. It didn’t take long for them to start cheering and booing. Music from the Festival reached the field all during the afternoon, and it was a pleasant addition to the competition.

I was truly inspired by what I saw last Saturday. It didn’t help me to hear political pundits or celebrities on television say “Don’t live in fear.” Anyone can say that. But to witness people actually going out and living life as it should be lived, despite the tension and uneasiness that undoubtedly many of them felt, that was courage personified.

Now, I realize that not everyone is comfortable with returning to normal activities. It will take some more time for others. But if they see more and more people returning to their hobbies and favorite pastimes, it will help the process along.

The games were played, and the athletes enjoyed the opportunity. One of the Beacon teams won and the other lost. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter who wins and loses (although sometimes it’s hard to keep that in mind). They gave their best effort and they will again the next time they step on the field or the court.

I’d like to offer my thanks to everyone that went out last Saturday. The athletes who played the games, the people at the Folk Festival, and every Bostonian and New Englander who came to the city to enjoy life and be a part of the American social fabric. It helped me, and probably others, feel a little better about a very difficult situation.