Sports: Bringing People Together Time After Time

Michael - Louisville, Kentucky
Entered on April 24, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe that sports have the power to bring people together under any circumstances. The citizens of the United States are diverse in many different ways. There are only certain things that have the power to bring people together, and I believe that sports are one of them.

My father’s side of the family is an example of the diversity of America. There are many people in it, and they are all different. We each love different things, so we do not have family gatherings often. Every year, we all go to a local park and play an annual softball game. This is an example of the power that sports have to bring people together. No matter what our differences are, we still bond during this softball game.

Not only can sports bring people together on the playing field, but of it as well. Sports also have been a popular focus for the arts, particularly in novels and films. If Americans are not interested in playing sports because they do not have athletic ability, they can enjoy a nice movie like Rudy, Remember the Titans, or Caddy Shack. All of these movies appeal to different types of people, and they bring people together to watch them. All three films did well in theaters, and people flocked to cinemas to enjoy the heartbreak, laughs, and triumphs with each other.

Furthermore, many social activities center around a sporting event. Often times, and local high school’s football or basketball game is the highlight of the week for the citizens of that town. Fans of major university and professional football teams often gather in parking lots outside stadiums to “tailgate” before kickoff, and for parties in front of television sets in each other’s homes during the Super Bowl. Thousands of baseball fans flee the snow and ice of the North for a week or two each winter by making the trip to training camps in the south and southwest to watch their favorite players prepare for the spring opening of the professional baseball season.

When I was a freshman in high school, I attended my first St. Xavier vs. Trinity football game. This game is the biggest rivalry in the state of Kentucky, and arguably the United States. I was just a kid then, and to see the amount of people was unbelievable. 38,000 people attended the game, and it was a sight to behold. Alumni came back to support their teams, and everyone cheered as loud as they could. In the end, my high school was victorious, but the important thing was that people came to enjoy the same sporting event and bond with each other.

When the planes struck the two towers in New York City, the last thing on people’s minds was sports. Everything shut down in the nation, and all eyes were on the city. America was in mourning, and there did not seem to be an end to it in sight. Athletics were cancelled for a short time, until the owners and league officials decided to continue them two weeks later. This was a great move because it helped the nation heal from the attacks. The city of New York rallied behind their Yankees and Mets while they went through playoff series. The Yankees came back from deficits in almost every game, and in two instances, home runs ended the game to make the Yankees victorious. After the victories, and especially after the home runs, the Yankee fans seemed for an instant to forget about the attacks. Everyone in the city had something to root for, and something to be proud of. The city of New York united, and rooted their teams to victory, and it was a powerful sight to behold. Tears were shed, and hugs were shared, but in the end the important thing was that the city was bonding, and starting a healing process.

Another city that benefited from sports was the city of New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina was a horrific disaster that left the city of New Orleans in shambles. People were forced to evacuate their homes, and find a place to sleep. Many people fled to the Super Dome, which is where New Orleans Saints play, in order to have some shelter. It is interesting to think that people who were left without homes were forced to sleep in a sports facility. These people that retreated to the dome were left to help, and heal each other. It brought the city closer and closer because they were now one. When the city was cleared and somewhat cleaned up, people were left to fend for themselves, and they had to evacuate the dome. When the football season rolled around, many people were wondering if the dome would be ready for competition, but in the end, it was. The entire city was looking forward to the season, because they needed something to bring them together and rally behind. They had seen how the city of New York was somewhat healed by sports, and they wanted that same effect. On opening day, fans were let in free, and the Super Dome was filled to capacity. People were left on the streets watching the game on televisions outside the stadium, and all eyes in the city were on the game. The emotions that ran through the stadium that day were never-ending. People laughed, cried, and mourned, but once again, it was the start of a healing process. Throughout the season, the city rallied behind their team and almost got them to the end, but they fell short.

Overall, the power of sports to bring people together is evident. Sports help to heal and comfort those who are mourning, by bringing people together to support each other. In the end, without sports, America would lose some of its originality. America is a nation that has been taken over by athletics, and it is for the best, and it is for the best because it gives of something that we can all relate to.