I believe that sports are more than competitions.
I, myself, am a fairly skinny, average sized teenager, navigating my way through the perils of high school in the 21st century. I am not remotely athletically gifted (but at least I am not the consistent “last pick”.) I was never that kid you saw playing soccer in the community sports league as you drove past the local park towards the grocery store on Saturday morning. I never played peewee football, never took tennis lessons, never filled a bookcase with trophies and medals from years of tournaments and competitions; but what I have done is become a devoted sports fan.
I believe, despite the overpaid athletes, steroids hype, and excesses that permeate the average person’s view of sports, that sports are wonders of human accomplishments, almost on par with the great artistic or literary works of decades and centuries past. To watch Tiger Woods play a round of golf is to watch a writer compose a best-selling novel. To see the Super Bowl is to see a painter create a masterpiece; halftime for the two battling teams is comparable to the painter taking a step back from the canvas, mixing new colors of paint, and setting back to work.
A sporting event, especially one involving a hometown team, Chicago in my case, contains so many interesting aspects, emotions, and appeals. Even the Chicago Cubs and their infamous century of failure do not deter millions of faithful from watching the games and living and dying with each game. A sports team, or even a certain athlete, can be a powerful and amazing unifying force, and perhaps even more important to the power of a great team is the inclusive nature of the team. Athletics is one of the lone areas where everyone can contribute and participate, whether rich or poor, young or old, famous or ordinary.
I think that what a professional athlete can do is nothing short of amazing; they can do things we can only dream of doing. The feats of an athlete or a team are sources of confidence and pride for yourself and those around you, and can serve to define a people, just as an artist can encapsulate a people’s feelings and spirit. They can do what most of us cannot do, or wish we could do. So while I may be a mediocre athlete, I can still watch other athletes accomplish so much more.
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