In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, sports were the last thing people were concerned or worried about. Countless lives have dramatically changed due to the damage to their houses and lack of power and gas. Some even lost their lives because of the storm. However, during Hurricane Sandy, sports were definitely affected.
The Brooklyn Nets were scheduled to open their brand new arena, the Barclays Center, on Thursday, November 1 against the New York Knicks, but that game was postponed to Monday, November 26. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg thought that the mass transit system was a mess, that the game would cause a problem with traffic, and that there was no reason for a game to be played just days after the devastation that took place. Jay-Z’s Nets were supposed to make the headlines to start the 2012 NBA season first because of the new-look team, but instead, it was the Knicks who grabbed the spotlight to start off the campaign. The Knicks opened up their season against the defending champions, the Miami Heat, on Friday, November 2 at Madison Square Garden, despite the hurricane.
Many people wondered if this game should even be played because of all the damage that took place in New York. All-Star Dwyane Wade shared his thoughts on Twitter about whether the game should be played, with so much of New York still in shambles:
“We shouldn’t B hre 2 play a basketball game when theirs so many families obviously still R affected by #Sandy.”
“I luv playing in the garden but cnt do nothing but think abt all the families that dont have power,food,water etc..ths is a tragic hit 4 ths gr8 city.”
Wade went on to donate his game-check, over $200,000 before taxes, to Hurricane Relief efforts. Despite the hesitations about playing, the Knicks were stellar against LeBron James, Wade and the reigning champs. The Knicks beat the Heat 104-84 largely because of excellent ball movement throughout the entire game. Carmelo Anthony scored 30 points and secured 10 rebounds, and the Knicks as a team dished out 27 assists.
“Today was something to give New York a couple hours of some peace,” said Anthony. “We gave them [the fans] a good show out there tonight; that’s the least that we can do.”
Point guard Raymond Felton, in his second stint with the Knicks, was overjoyed with the Knicks’ victory against Miami. “I think this win meant a lot for us, for the city, fans, you know, just everybody in New York. This was a big win, so I’m happy we got it.”
The Nets began their delayed season on Saturday, November 3 against the Toronto Raptors. In front of their home crowd, the Nets played the first professional sports game in Brooklyn since 1957. The Nets defeated the Raptors 107-100, led by Brook Lopez’s 27 points and Deron Williams’ 19 points and nine assists.
In addition to basketball, a major sports event that was canceled was the New York City Marathon, scheduled for Sunday, November 4. Mayor Michael Bloomberg flip-flopped on whether the event should take place directly after Sandy had hit. He initially felt that the marathon could help bring the city closer together and could bring in money to the city (The marathon averages roughly $340 million in revenue to the city). However, after the Twitter universe nearly exploded in outrage over Bloomberg’s initial decision, Bloomberg changed his mind and canceled the marathon. Staten Island would have been the starting place of the marathon, but this was one of the hardest hit areas in New York. The safety of the runners and the outrage of the public were taken into consideration when the marathon was officially canceled.
Travel plans were also altered because of the hurricane. The Miami Heat changed their flight plans when they found out the game versus the Knicks would be played. On the gridiron, the Pittsburgh Steelers took a flight the day of the game when they faced the New York Giants on Sunday, November 4. In the game, the Steelers edged out the G-Men 24-20, sparked by two fourth quarter touchdowns.
All the athletes that participated this week in the New York area knew that sports were not the most important thing going on in the world. But it’s their job to entertain. It’s their job in times of crisis to take people’s minds off of their problems, even if only for a couple hours.
“There are so many bigger things going on around here that what we do is not as important as real life,” Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said after the game. ”My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone else who are going through so much…But maybe we were able to take their minds off their problems just a little.”
In addition to professional sports, LIU Post’s athletic teams were impacted by the storm as well. The football team’s game against Kutztown University (5-4) was canceled and moved to Saturday, November 17. The Pioneers’ record is 3-5 and their next game is Saturday, November 10 against Gannon University (2-8).
The men’s soccer team (18-2) had to adjust their game schedules as well, but they had no problem as they defeated Mercy College by a score of 7-1 on Friday, November 2, and knocked off NYIT in a 3-2 win on Sunday, November 4 for the East Coast Conference Championship. They then moved onto the NCAA Division II East Regionals and faced the University of Massachusetts-Lowell on Sunday, November 11. However, in the game, the Pioneers lost 1-0 and their season came to a sudden end.
The women’s soccer team was also impacted as their schedule changed because of the Hurricane. In the East Coast Conference Championships on Friday, November 2 they lost 2-1 to Dowling College. Later on November 11 they faced Dowling again, this time in the NCAA Division II East Regionals, and had the same fate as in the ECC Championships as the Pioneers fell 2-0. Home games for both LIU Post soccer teams had to be played at Dowling College.
Finally, the men’s basketball team postponed their exhibition matchup against Manhattan College that was originally slated for Thursday, November 1.
Sandy had a huge impact on the lives of LIU Post students and faculty, and everyone in the New York area. Those involved in sports were no different.