I love sports.
I really do.
Except when I hate sports.
With everything that has been going on in sports this year, all the scandal and all the sad stories that have shown the true ugliness of the sporting world, I am constantly reminding myself of the things that I love about sports.
The death of Redskins and former University of Miami safety, Sean Taylor, really shook me for some reason. I am not a Redskins fan, nor a Miami fan.
However, Taylor’s death really forced me to dwell on the things that I love about sports in order to get past the tragedy. It forced me to look at sports and realize that they are supposed to be fun. There is nothing fun about learning that a father of an 18-month-old died tragically.
This year in professional sports we have seen the indictment of home run king Barry Bonds, the arrests of former all-pro football players O.J. Simpson and Michael Vick, the suspensions of NFL players Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson, and Chris Henry, as well as the steroid cloud over baseball, and finally the gambling scandal in the NBA. With all the black clouds that are so visible over professional sports, I think it is time that we forget the negative and start focusing on the positive.
When did sports get to be such a serious thing? Why is it the end of the world when a call goes against our teams? Why is it a somber event when we lose?
Many kids growing up compete in basketball leagues that don’t keep score. They keep no record of wins and losses. All of the kids that play in these leagues love playing the games because no matter what happens they have fun. There is no pressure to win the game. There is no pressure to score points. Kids don’t worry about letting their parents down if they lose. It is fun, exactly how sports should be.
Many soccer leagues around the country have a silence policy for all parents. No yelling. No negativity towards the game at all. Only encouragement, even if the kids make a poor play. Kids love the policy because they don’t feel like they are letting their parents down. The policy was adopted to teach children to love the game.
Sports at GCC may not be as popular as many of the athletes who play them and coaches who coach them would like. However, the reason they play and coach is not to be visible; they have no pipe dreams of carrying a team in professional sports. Most of them compete in junior college athletics because they love the game they play. With all this being said, many Glendale students are missing out on really enjoyable sporting events.
The prefect example of everything that I love and enjoy about sports is evident while watching a GCC girl’s volleyball game.
Aya Nakano is not the tallest player or the most physically gifted player but it is almost impossible to disregard her. Not only is she the top player on the team, but also she does everything with a huge smile on her face. How often do we see a baseball player grin after a ball goes through their legs? Never. But with Nakano, a smile is never far behind even if she hits the ball into the net.
As a sports fan and an aspiring sports writer, I think we have an uncommon opportunity to learn from the death of Sean Taylor, the kids who just want to have fun, and junior college athletes, like Aya Nakano, who can’t contain their love for the game.
That lesson is: yes sports are a large part of our society, but they are also just games that should be fun, not something that we need to get worked up over.
I guess I really do love sports.