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What really is important?

By Anthony Rhoads

As a sports writer, you constantly hear coaches, players, parents and fans talk about how important the games are.

In a sense, the games are important. The kids and coaches in high school put time and effort into their sports and they certainly don't go out onto the field of play to lose.

The kids can learn many life lessons from sports and sports can be a way for kids to excel but the games themselves are meaningless. Even at the collegiate and professional level, the results of these games have very little significance or relevance to the real world.

Whether or not a game is won or lost, the sun is going to come up the next day.

It might come as a shock to some people but sports is not a life-or-death situation.

Our military serving in Iraq facess life-and-death situations every day. The police officers who patrol our highways and streets face life-and-death situations every day. Firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs face life-and-situations every day.

What happens on a football field, a baseball field or basketball court is not a life-and-death situation.

What happened on Sept. 11, 2001 was about life and death.

One of the heroes who did his best to preserve life that day was Rick Rescorla, who died on the attack on the World Trade Center.

He helped many people get to safety and saved many lives before perishing. For Rescorla, being in danger and putting his life on the line was almost routine.

The Cornwall, England native fought against communism in Cyprus from 1957-60 and in Rhodesia from 1960-63.

He had a disdain for communism and moved to the United States so he could volunteer to fight in Vietnam.

In November of 1965, he was with the Seventh Cavalry in the Battle of the Ia Drang, the battle which later became famous in the book ?We Were Soldiers Once?And Young' and in the Mel Gibson movie ?We Were Soldiers.'

By the time his service in Vietnam ended, he won the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with an oak leaf cluster, the Purple Heart and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

In 1967, he became an American citizen.

On Feb. 26, 1993, he was there when the World Trade Center basement was bombed. On that day, he again was a hero. He helped get employees out of the building and later, he helped work out emergency plans if another disaster occurred at the World Trade Center.

Eight years later, the World Trade Center was again attacked and Rescorla was one of the casualties.

"To those of you who knew Rescorla, we lost a brother," fellow Vietnam veteran Larry Gwin said at a memorial service for Rescorla. "We lost one of the best men we've ever known. For those of you who don't know Rick Rescorla, he was a warrior, a leader, and a friend. He was the bravest man I ever saw."

Anthony Rhoads is a sports writer for The Daily. His column appears on Wednesdays. He can be reached at arhoads@news-daily.com or sports@news-daily.com.