May we never get used to tragedy: explosions, suspicious packages, acts of terrorism, attacks on where we live and attacks on who we are. America is a mighty nation and the eyes of the world are always upon us. The desire of most in the world is to come to America. The desire of some in the world is to destroy America. Yet, attack after attack we always bounce back. We become more determined and resilient. Resilient has two meanings. One: to recover quickly from difficult conditions. Two: to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed. I like the second definition. Americans may bend but we will not break.
I believe sports play a major role in our ability to bounce back so quickly. Before anyone objects, this blog is about sports. I also believe in family, faith, friendship, and patriotism. All of these make this country great and a great people makes this country strong. Even though we are from different walks of life, sports enables us to find a common ground. (Defeating the enemy is also common ground). I live in Kentucky but have an affinity with and connection to Cubs fans all over the country. Through Facebook and Twitter, we share joys, triumphs, sorrows, and tragedies. We can be there for one another and we have never met in person. In times of tragedy, we can even show support to the fans of the teams we cheer against. Our common ground: sports.
First, sports gives us a temporary distraction. In a difficult time, we need something to take our minds off of the tragedy if only for a moment. This does not mean we don’t care or are making light of the situation. It simply means we are using it as a coping mechanism. For two or three hours, we can disappear, watch a game or match, and act like everything is ok.
Second, sports gives us a single focus. We rally around our team. The teams in Boston are taking the night off. This will aide police in their investigation. However, tomorrow or the next day, or even next week, the teams will suit up and head out on the field, ice, or court. It gives the fans the opportunity to suit up also and head out in support of their team. In times like these, we see something remarkable. Fans of other teams supporting their biggest rivals. New York who is no stranger to tragedy showed support to the city of Boston this week. The Red Sox had something in common with the Yankees. For a moment, they are not rivals but just fans who share a love for the game of baseball.
Third, sports reminds us we are Americans. Some would say that we love sports and entertainment too much. We can get pretty crazy. Yet, our love of the game goes way beyond entertainment. With social media today, we are not just New Yorkers, Bostonians, or Louisvillians. We are Americans. We are not just Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, or Cubbies. We are Americans. We love our teams. We love our cities. We loves our country. Today, we are fans. Today, we are Americans. Give us your best shot. We may bend but we will never break.