Hurricane Sandy: Its Impact on Sports and Society in Wake of its Destruction and Aftermath
The super storm that began as Hurricane Sandy virtually paralyzed many areas of the east coast, and no more so than in parts of New York and New Jersey. The wrath of this devastating storm affected millions all along the east coast, stretching as far north as New England where numerous power outages and continued flooding poses even more problems following the storm’s conclusion.
They say pictures are worth a thousand words, but those photos showcasing the devastation of Hurricane Sandy hold different implications; ones that life-changing for some, shocking to many and utterly incredible to all. The clean-up and response to Hurricane Sandy begins with getting power restored, as President Barack Obama visited affected areas in both New York City and New Jersey on Wednesday. As the dust clears, much of Manhattan and the Jersey Shore remain in the dark and undoubtedly the impact runs deeper than what was expected.
New York City officials were reporting as late as Wednesday that at least 30 New Yorkers were killed in the storm and the damages are expected to surpass $20 billion…and that’s only one regional example. While the stories emerging from the aftermath of the storm are incredible, the connection between sports and society will always pose a sense of relief in times of tragedy.
While New York Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning assesses the damage to his apartment building in Hoboken, New Jersey, the defending Super Bowl Champion hopes to provide some joy come Sunday. “Whether they can come to the game or find a TV, for a few hours they can have a little break and cheer for their home team,” Manning told ESPN New York. “And hopefully we can give them a little joy and after the game they can go back to building their lives back.”
Rant Sports columnist Jovan Alford made a point to touch upon a different angle of the impact, one that affects even employees in the sports field. “I think it affects them in a way that’s deeper than the players. It affects the workers who work at these arenas and a city like NYC, whose subway system is affected and many people can’t get to these sports events. The attendance could be lower as well at these games.”
As Alford points out, Sandy’s impact runs even deeper than just on-the-field or on-the-court play. Before the storm even arrived, the NFL, whose offices are based out of New York City, made the decision to back up their trade deadline.
The damaging situation has no timetable in which things can seemingly return back to normal. While pictures of a blacked-out lower Manhattan are virtually unheard of in the city that never sleeps, it’s a reality that must be dealt with and rebuilt from. QFive, the free social platform for athletes, fans, teams and programs, is just one example of that. Located on 26th and Broadway in Manhattan, the employees at QFive provide a real-life feel of the ongoing situation in New York City. “NYC has banned together in an inspiring way during these trying times. Sports never stop, whether users are posting about their high school football playoff games or their reactions to the NBA openers. During this time, we’re doing our best to keep QFive up and running for our users throughout the world,” said co-founders Daniel Fisher and Josh Grosbard in a statement.
From the cancellation of the highly-anticipated NBA season opener between the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets to the affect the storm had on exhibition match-ups for CAA college basketball league members, Sandy held no bounds.
The eye of the storm made impact late Monday night off the coast of New Jersey, devastating Atlantic City and areas of the shore. Rant Sports columnists Ryan Gaydos, a native of the coastal town of Keansburg, New Jersey, added this, “It’s completely devastating. I can’t describe to you in words what it is really like. There is one thing though; we will recover. The Jersey Shore will recover.”
While the task will be difficult, Gaydos is right. The region and all those affected will recover. From the battered Jersey Shore to the reports and images in Queens, Sandy left its path of destruction. Queens-native and Rant Sports columnist Jared Mintz also chimed in on areas and stories that he has heard, saying, “It’s sad, I haven’t seen NYC react like this since 9/11, where it hit Manhattan so hard and trickled out to all the boroughs, Queens included. Fortunately, my area of Queens is still in relatively good shape, although a lot of homes lost power, we haven’t felt the devastation that was felt in Manhattan, and even out in Nassau and Suffolk County. I mean the majority of people I know and have heard from have faced some kind of damage to their homes, and are afraid they could be without heat and power for the next 2 weeks. So I’m just praying their lives get restored, and things get back to normal in New York ASAP…keeping my fingers crossed and thinking of them every passing minute.”
Even Rant Sports High School Network Manager Dave Daniels, who is a Virginia-native, made a statement in regards to the storm’s widespread impact. “I was one of the lucky ones who only lost power for about a day. The Metro system in DC was shut down for two days. Hurricane Sandy was an extremely devastating and destructive storm, hopefully one that people will only see once in their lifetime. My thoughts and prayers go out to my family in Virginia and North Carolina, friends though out the New York and Boston area, as well as all people affected by this super-storm.”
There is no doubt that the recovery process will be difficult. Long hours and plenty of manpower will be needed to achieve the goals at hand. Rebuilding all that has been lost has no timetable and what will come to mind when you think of “Sandy” is something that is already in place.
To donate to those affected by Hurricane Sandy and to help in the efforts of millions seeking to rebuild, please visit the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org.
From all of us here at Rant Sports, we send our thoughts and prayers to all those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Paul Seaver is the College Basketball Network Manager at Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @TheArenaPulse