When you think of sports, what comes to mind? Is it a sports team? Maybe a noteworthy game? Or a major player?
With the passing anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 and the recent racial tension that has been affecting America, it seems that now is the time where we need to focus on coming together. So what does sports have to do with anything?
“There is a history of times when some kind of a tragedy happens and sports have been there to unify the country in some ways,” Dr. Paul Hanson, history professor at California Lutheran University said.
Sports have long been a part of American culture. But just how important are they? To many Americans, sports, are a way of life. They have the ability to do more than just entertain.
“Sports are everywhere,” Marty Slimak, Cal Lutheran baseball head coach said in a phone interview. “I mean you have world news, local news and then you have sports news. Sports have always been a part of American culture.”
Certainly with events that have major impact on the nation as a whole, like 9/11, we see sports as an outlet to display patriotism and unite people from various backgrounds.
“We’re an immigrant people. People came from lots of different places and one of the things that sports has done for America is that it provided an activity in which everyone could become Americanized,” Hanson said.
The 2001 World Series took place in New York shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
“With that series, I think Americans had something to cheer about. You had the Arizona Diamondbacks and the New York Yankees, so it was the east and west coming together during a tough time,” Slimak said.
Sports have different meanings for different people. Sports have the ability to bring people together from different cultures but can also impact and change a person’s life.
“I wasn’t the best child when I was younger and when I got into playing sports it got my mind focused on the right things and it kept me out of trouble,” said CJ Washington, a running back for the Kingsmen football team.
Sports are also important for the youth to get involved with. They can learn skills they may not understand right away in a classroom.
“As a kid I played all the sports. We as kids organized our own games and played them on our own,” Hanson said. “For me, one of the huge benefits of sports is that you learn how to negotiate, make decisions, settle disputes and mediate. Or the activity that you are having fun with doesn’t happen,”
There are many people that do not always come from places where there are resources to express themselves and sports have been a way to display those talents on a different scale.
“Sports gave me a reason to do well in school. My mom would tell me that if I didn’t have good grades I couldn’t play sports, so in a way it motivated me,” Washington said.
Sporting events are the one place where thousands of people from all over gather with the same common goal-to watch their favorite team prevail.
“Look at the Super Bowl for example. It is one of the most watched events on televisionwhenever it comes on,” Washington said. “It just goes to show that sports have a way of bringing everyone together.”
Published September 16th 2015