Regular readers, friends, and family know I am not much of a football fan. My game is baseball. I adore watching all levels, from community kids playing Babe Ruth to serious young women throwing heat (underhand!) in college softball to the terrific Apple Sox of the college league to the majors. As I write this, I’m gazing at the Seattle Times photo of a smiling Ken Griffey Jr. at the end of his farewell season in 2010. But today’s “big game” is the Super Bowl (insert pun regarding the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado here), and it seems our whole state has been painted Seahawk blue and green. So I’ll use it as a canvas for some thoughts on sport.
For me, the true beauty of sport comes from the fact that it is only a game. I know today many of my friends and neighbors will feel their hearts pound, will weep and yell and cheer, will send entreaties to the universe for “our” team to win. This is the loveliness of sport, in that it gives us a canvas to paint our hopes and aspirations on, and makes us feel like we are a team, a community, pulling together. Real issues, with significant meaning, tend to divide us (well, so do petty issues, with insignificant meaning, we being humans). Sport brings us together.
We also get the privilege of watching talented athletes perform at their peak. There is a profound beauty in their abilities. But the reason more people watch the Super Bowl than watch equally amazing feats of individual athleticism at, say, the upcoming winter Olympics is, I think, because team sports encourage us to think we’re all team members. And in an important way, we are.
The dark side of professional sports is well known. And one thing that makes me squeamish about loving football is the amount of violence on the field. But for today, let’s focus on the best of the experience. The excruciating pleasure of watching each possession and turnover. The sublime joy of sweating out a final period in a close game. Let’s cheer on the athletes because, after all, it’s only a game.
11 thoughts on “The importance of sport, or, it’s only a game”
You make some great points in your essay on football and other sports. I am a football fan and know its only a game, unfortunately big business, also. I enjoy your writing and the subjects you chose. Please continue your good work.
Thank you, Alan! The “big business” side is the part I don’t like so much. But the joy of the game – that’s fun.
I love sports and played all of them in high school and college. I never forgot, it is supposed to be fun!
Now, if I could just figure out how to blog, I would really have fun.
My theory is the best players of any sport are the ones who remember to have fun on the field. But I am a klutz so I can’t speak from my own experience like you! 🙂 You’ll get the hang of blogging, too.
Liz, not sure about learning to blog, I thought Harry Potter was a wizard!
You’ll get the hang of it. Even Potter needed to practice!
Gotta say, the better team won…my Broncos had a great year though!!! I love how you connected the ‘Rocky Mountain’ and ‘Pacific Coastal’ high aspect…HA! Too cool!
What can I say? The Seahawks are a great football team. I just wish Peyton could have gone out on top!
Agreed – the Hawks played well, and the Broncos & Peyton have a lot to be proud of. I like being able to like both teams!
We are on the same page or is it blog?
Oops! Freudian ‘bowl’ slip: that’s spelled