By IAN WILSON
It’s just sports.
It’s just sports that distract us from those news headlines that are too depressing to read and those everyday stresses that chip away at our happiness.
The video highlights give us something to laugh at, yell about or marvel over.
It’s just sports that teach us about time management, hard work, dedication, discipline and focus.
We see the best and worst of ourselves in sports and the people that surround them.
It’s just sports that provide the arena for high-level drama, athletic artistry, memorable entrances and graceful exits.
At different times, they provoke, inspire, disappoint, frustrate and bore us.
We see mental and physical strength. We see haunting boneheaded mistakes that shouldn’t define people, but they do.
It’s just sports that send people to the gym, educate athletes about nutrition and preach the importance of practice, followed by more practice.
They fill the gaps … with baseballs and diving outfielders.
It’s just sports that make us learn the rules and delve into the fine details.
They make us watch the same play over and over again and still leave us unsure of what we’ve just witnessed.
It’s just sports that make us smile and cry and wince.
They provide the backdrop. The pregame rituals. The anthems. The smell of the grass and the popcorn and the beer. The sun in your eyes.
It’s just sports that make you climb all those steps and triple-check your ticket stub before you sit down. Later you’ll dig into your pocket for a once hopeful 50/50 ticket that is now just garbage.
They make you lose your breath, catch your breath, take a deep breath … breathless.
They produce so many questions. Did you see that? Did she catch it? Can he play? Should he play? What just happened? What does this mean? What next?
It’s just sports that inspire us to gather and chat with people we don’t know. We talk things over like we’re talking about the weather, but this is somehow more important. These conversations tell you everything you want to know about the other person – and they allow you to display everything you want to about who you are through the lens of sport.
They let you pick sides and argue and fight … and shake hands and high five and hug it out and forgive.
It’s okay to suit up, get dirt on your jersey, rip your pants and do it all over again the next day.
It’s just sports that allow you to take your shot, take your hacks and give everything.
They teach you how to fail, how to succeed and everything in between those arbitrary judgments of achievement.
They urge us to hold grudges or look back with sentimental eyes and wet cheeks, even if there is no crying in baseball.
It’s just sports that set us in motion and press us into battle.
It’s just sports that allow us to sit this one out, or do what we are all meant to … play.
It’s just sports.
But not today.