Doug Glanville didn’t set any records in his nine years as a professional baseball player. But he’s been making his mark this year as an occasional columnist for The New York Times, in a series of very articulate reminiscences about his life in the major leagues. From this morning’s entry, about how it felt to play baseball in the days following September 11th, 2001:

We were playing a game that we loved and that was our livelihood. It was a gift to be able to respond to fans who wanted us to come back and give them a temporary reprieve from the fear and the sorrow. In that first game back, the fans treated every pitch like we were playing the most important game they have ever seen. They cheered every strike and sang in total unison during the 7th inning stretch.

Many thanked us for playing that day, and their gratitude seemed to be about fulfilling a need, or maybe creating an oasis of peace and unity. Just being part of that, and tasting a moment when you find real purpose in what you do, helped us understand the power of this game.

Glanville’s entire series is worth a read.

Justin Peters is editor-at-large of the Columbia Journalism Review.