2/14/17

A World Without Sports

In honor of Valentine's Day, here's a love letter to my one true love: sports.



On my bulletin board at school, the first thing I pinned up was a Sports Illustrated Point After article. "A World Without Mookies." When I first picked up the issue, the title caught my eye because I love the Boston Red Sox and Mookie Betts is one of my favorite players. Then I read the piece by Steve Rushin, and it stuck with me. I think about this piece a lot because a lot of my life is dedicated to sports. I stare at every time I sit at my desk, and I read certain parts over and over again.
"Without sports, we live in a joyless, Gronk-less, Fosbury Flop-free world. It's Indianapolis without the 500, Manchester without the United. Life is a lot drearier. And 'Do you believe in miracles?' is no longer a rhetorical question." 
That's the last paragraph, and I think about those last words a lot. Life is a lot drearier, writes Rushin. And my life certainly would be a lot drearier. I mean, I owe just the sport of baseball a lot to who I am as a person.  So here's my life without sports:

I never would have done anything once I had to stop dancing. I would have become one of those faceless people in a crowd without anything defining them. I would have been most of my life studying in high school, and I certainly wouldn't have had as many friends. There would be no Friday night games and certainly no Tuesday afternoon practices. My life would have never been ruled by whether or not there was a varsity football game that week, and I never would have jumped for joy at the thought of never having to work another freshman game on Thursday again. I would never know what it feels like to stand on the sideline, running back and forth between the offensive line players and trying to convince someone that yes, he should probably drink water right now considering the heat index is over 100.

Without sports, I never would have joined newspaper because I would never had had an interest in writing about anything. I never would have met one of my best friends and first mentors. I never would have had the chance to write outside of school and actually have work published. I would never have spent every single week taking pictures and going to games. My hard drives would be a little less cluttered, and someone else probably would have learned to how use a camera because I wouldn't have been hoarding one for three years.

I probably still wouldn't know what I want to do with my life. I would be an undeclared freshman without a clue in the world about what she wanted to study. The University of Alabama would never have been on my radar; it would only be known as that school in the next state over. I wouldn't have gone here, and I would certainly would never have tried to convince my parents to name our dog Saban or Bear. (We still named him after a sports figure) I have no idea where I would be going to school right now. Maybe UGA? But who cares? Sports don't matter anyway.

My relationship with my dad would be incredibly different. I am not even sure what we would talk about. I never would have gotten stuck in an airport for 10 hours trying to visit him to go to a baseball game. Summers spent at Turner Field would be nonexistent, and there would be no plan to go to Florida for spring break to watch spring training. Walks to the bus stop as a kid are quiet, and car rides would be spent in silence without Greeny and Golic in the background.

March would just be another month in my household, and the first weekend in April would mean nothing. October would no longer contain a sense of magic in the air, and the third weekend in October is just another boring weekend. There are no more playoff heroes, and the madness is gone because you've never had to throw away a busted bracket. Cinderella is only ever used to describe the princess. There has never been "Warriors blew a 3-1 lead" joke made, and in return I have never made the "Yankees blew a 3-0 lead" joke. Thinking about "One Shining Moment" doesn't make me cry because it's never been written.

So what my life be like without sports? That's all the long answer, but the simple answer is it wouldn't be my life. Obviously it's hard to think about exactly where I would because like I said so much of my life has been dedicated to sports. Without sports, everything changes for me.

xx, jKm

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