I believe in the power of sports.
Many people seem to belittle sports. The dictionary defines it as just a physical activity governed by a set of rules. A lot of the people I talk to consider them trivial when compared to issues such as the war of on terror, global warming, healthcare, and other more important concerns. While I do not believe that sports are more important than those problems, I do believe sports play a unique role in our society that goes beyond just the game itself. I believe sports play a much more vital role in our society than they get credit for.
I believe sports have a unique ability to heal a wounded city or nation. When the attacks of 9/11 struck, many were devastated. But a sense of hope occurred when the first game of baseball was played in New York following the attacks; when President Bush stood on the pitcher’s mound to throw the first pitch, the roar of the fans chanting as he waved is something that will forever be etched in my mind. It seemed as if President Bush was saying “Everything will be okay.” To me, this event was the beginning of a long, painful, but inevitable healing process for the United States. For the rest of that baseball season in 2001, baseball fans were connected regardless of the team they rooted for and whenever “The Star Spangled Banner” played, chills ran through my body, and I knew that I was not alone, when I heard the ensuing roar that followed our national anthem. I believe the game of baseball truly exemplified our philosophy that “united we stand”.
Sports also have an incredible ability to bring people who are complete strangers together. Whenever I go to a baseball game, I high-five and scream my lungs out with a random fan next to me whenever our team does well. In addition to cheering when our team does well, fans also come together to heckle opposing players; making their every moment miserable. Fans like to believe that our participation in the stands can help influence the outcome of a game, which is something theatre arts, a movie, someone’s graduation, or any other event with a bunch of people cannot claim. Watch any college football game on television and hear thousands of students bond together and chant their school’s fight song, and you’ll come to believe that the fans really do make the difference in a game.
It is in ways like these that sporting events go transcend the game itself. They bring out the best in the human spirit; they have shown that the athletes that play the games can reach out to a devastated community, or can bring out sheer joy to total strangers. So before you label sports as just a “game,” understand that they have a lot more power than meets the eye.
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