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Syndic Literary Journal

Essay Essay ~ “More Than A Sports Story” by LeRoy Chatfield

More Than A Sports Story

By LeRoy Chatfield

By any sports measure, Dave Rimington was a big man and a storied national athlete.  Standing 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighing 288 pounds, Rimington played Center for the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers football team in the early 1980’s. He was a winner of the Lombardi Award,  the UPI Lineman of the Year Award, a two-time winner of the Outland Trophy and named to the All America Team twice.  He was a first round pick in the National Football League in 1983 and played 5 years with the Cincinnati Bengals and 2 years with the Philadelphia Eagles. His #50 football jersey has been retired by the University of Nebraska.

I never heard of Dave Rimington until I published a poem by J.H. Johns. I don’t know J.H. either,  have never met him,  but he tells me he lives in New York City and  writes poetry.  I like what he writes, I publish his poetry in every issue of my online publication –  Syndic Literary Journal (syndicjournal.us).

A few days after the 9/11 terrorist attack  J.H. made his way to the neighborhood where the Twin Towers of the Trade Center once stood. I am kind of an urban explorer, he told me, and I wanted a  close up view of the devastation and to see  for myself whatever I might see.

J.H. wrote this poem and sent it to me for publication Syndic.

“FACE DOWN IN THE BUSHES”

You were in the bushes,
face down,
about three blocks
east of the site;
there you were covered,
sheltered
by the low-growth evergreens
in that triangular swatch of park;

I turned you over and found
that you had not faded
or otherwise fallen apart;
you told me that you were
David Rimington,
President,
of the Boomer Esiason Foundation;
your office
was on the 101st Floor
of One World Trade Center-
you even told me how to call you-
though, I was sure you wouldn’t be there;
I looked at you
and was amazed
that you had survived the cleanup
which had been so meticulous,
leaving the streets spotless
and free of debris;
it’s a wonder
they missed the park;
maybe they were
in too much of a hurry
to pull back the branches
where they would have found
you and your friends;
oh, yes,
David,
you were not alone
in your sanctuary;
there were others;
an eight and a half by eleven photograph
of a black tie affair;
a page out of a desk calendar-
February 11th, I believe it was;
and a pair of women’s shoes;
no, you were not alone,
but only you had a name,
only you had a definite place,
to only you could I talk,
and wonder and ask,
where are you?

(Copyright © J. H. Johns 2017)

 

Narrations by Paul Churchill:

Three months later, J.H. Johns wrote a follow up poem about David Rimington.

 

“DAVID RIMINGTON”

David Rimington,
where are you?
Today,
exactly three months
later,
I pulled your card out,
again;
you had two numbers;
one toll-free,
the other a “212” area code;
I figured that the “212” number
would fail to ring
in a place that was
no longer there;
but the “800” number,
for that one I was
hoping to get a human
in an office somewhere
that was still there-
so I dialed,
and waited;
it rang
and was answered-
not by you-
but by a woman
whose voice had
a “taped” accent;
“We’re sorry,
you have reached a number…”
You were not there-
there was no longer a there-
I called the “212” number,
and I was told that,
“We’re sorry,
due to telephone company
facility trouble,
your call cannot be completed
at this time.
will you try your call, later?”
David Rimington,
you’re a tough guy to get a hold of-
David Rimington,
where are you?

(Copyright © J. H. Johns 2017)

 

So here we are: left holding a business card of Dave Rimington, President of the Boomer Esiason Foundation and asking whether Dave Rimington survived the 9/11 terrorist attack, or not. And if now alive, where is he?  What happened to him?  

With one randomly found business card, the poet J.H.Johns,   is able to help us  personalize and feel  the unspeakable and unfathomable tragedy  of the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City.  The magnitude of the event is simply too much for us to take in – 3.5 million square feet of building, housing 430 companies  employing 50,000 workers who receive 140,000 visitors  a day, and more than 2600 human beings  wiped off the face of the earth. Gone in a few hours time, as if it – and they – never existed.   Too overwhelming to accept! It numbs us.

Yes, Dave Rimington survived and is alive today. Whether by fate, luck, or simply an accident, it was football that saved Dave from perishing on 9/11.

Thanks to Howard Lutnick, CEO  of the brokerage firm  Cantor Fitzgerald who leased floors 101 to 105 in the WTC, he  donated free office space to the Boomer Esiason Foundation to house their 5 employees.  But at 9 AM on Tuesday September 11, 2001, none of  the foundation’s employees had arrived at their office and Dave himself was in Lincoln Nebraska because he wanted to watch his alma mater, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, defeat  the dreaded Irish of Notre Dame – 27 to 10 –   on Saturday, September 8.

Like the rest of us he watched the total destruction of the World Trade Center and the collapse of the five floors leased by  Cantor Fitzgerald which killed  658 employees – 68% of its workforce. But unlike the rest of us, he was on a first name basis with dozens of friends from Cantor Fitzgerald whom he would never see again.

It was a long, long trip back to to New York with several weeks of  funerals to attend and no office for his foundation. Like everyone else affected by 9/11, he had to pick up the pieces and start over. And so did we.

 

 

 

 

 

Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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