Column: Why are Sports So Special to People?

After reflecting on my three semesters of writing sports for The Oracle, a question came to mind; “what is it about sports that draws me in?” 

Sports are what I like to call the Hasbro of the real world. At the most micro level, sports provide an escape from the trials and tribulations of our ever so stressful lives. 

With any sport, a viewer can experience failure, excitement; any emotion you can name. The difference between sports and life is that you can experience all these emotions vicariously, without the any actual consequences. 

As children, we idolize fictional characters and superheroes. We are attracted to these figures because of their superhuman capabilities and desire to do good for society. In sports, athletes are no different. 

Athletes are superheroes for adults. We are drawn to them because of their seemingly superhuman powers, desire to win and dedication. This is why athletes like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are idolized and others like Ray Rice and Barry Bonds are not. Jeter and Rivera used their powers the right way. 

Sports provide a sense of community and passion. There’s nothing like being at a sporting event with fellow fanatics, cheering on success, challenging players and coaches decisions and experiencing the joy of a major victory with others who share the same enthusiasm. It’s even better when you get showered with flying cups of beer. Trust me. 

As someone who lives and dies by their favorite teams, losses are tough. However, after periods of grief following, I always tell myself, “the result was out of your control, the goal was to be entertained.” 

 This is what separates sports from any other form of entertainment. In the moment, it’s live, so real, all the fans are in it together, the players are in it to win and it seems like it’s the only thing in the world that matters. 

And once the event is over, the power of sports, the power to make one care about something enough to the point where the outcome actually affects one’s mood, lives on. There’s just something about sports that makes fans so loyal and care so deeply. 

If you truly care about a team and follow their story, it’s one that encompasses every genre you can think of. It’s a reality show that has no end, a drama with the ultimate plot twist, and a history special all rolled into one. 

It’s a story that has no true end, but is rather broken into chapters or seasons. During breaks between these chapters, there is always something to talk about with a particular team. What characters are going to be added? Who will leave? Who will surprise us with their powers in the next chapter? Sports have no end. 

As someone who is terrified by change, sports provide a constant outlet that I can go back to. It’s something that can bring out the child in all of us.

Thank you sports, for everything you have provided me. Your existence has allowed me to pursue my passion of writing as well as provide me with an everlasting outlet. Thanks for always being there. You never let me down.