Since 9/11, the sports arena has been an organizer of patriotism, a recruiter for the US armed forces, and at times a funhouse mirror, reflecting the principles of freedom in a manner so misshapen and distorted as to rise to the level of farce.
As the Phillies faithful cheered, I thought about the NFL postponing games following 9/11, but only after a players revolt led by Vinny Testaverde made clear to Paul Tagliabue that no one was in a condition to play a game. I thought about the spread of "Military Appreciation Nights" at the stadium and the increased prevalence of jet flyovers and troops processions in the field. I thought about the military recruitment stations organized outside preseason NFL games.
Just before the Saints made a selection during the first round of this year's draft (I can't remember if it was the Jordan or Ingram pick) there was an interruption in the proceedings so that the NFL could display a tableau of American servicemembers in uniform for a few moments of conspicuous military fetishism. I'm sure Pat Tillman's family was overjoyed.