Sports can unite people, cities or even an entire country
Published: Friday, February 13, 2004
Updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 15:01
After watching the new movie "Miracle" last week, I got a new appreciation for the power of sports.
The 1980 Olympic hockey game between the United States and the Soviet Union was more than a game; it was a political and social battle in the midst of the Cold War. As I sat in a comfy movie seat and thought about the 20 college kids who defied the odds and lifted our country onto a pedestal during one of its toughest times, I tried to imagine the importance of what had occurred some 24 years ago in Lake Placid, N.Y. It was the epitome of David versus Goliath. Good versus evil, us against them. As I thought about the ways in which one game affected our country, I re-evaluated the importance of sports to our society.
Sports are a very important part of my life, but I have definitely realized that there are many more important things in the world. That being said, I have had some days completely ruined because my favorite team had lost, and I have also let sports news overshadow other important news.
Even though it is slightly twisted that I sometimes struggle to keep sports in perspective with everything else, I find it strange that some people believe sports are an insignificant part of life. They view sports as merely games, hobbies and recreation with little regional, national or global importance.
I beg to differ. Sports have an extremely important role and place in society.
They provide people with entertainment and something to get excited about and they are topics for conversation. They provide a common bond for complete strangers and a common "team" to cheer for. As is the case with the 1980 Olympic hockey team, sports are capable of uniting a large group of people and boosting the morale of an entire country. They have the ability to transcend being "just a game."
I've listened to the stories that my parents told me about the night of the "Miracle on Ice" and I wish more than anything that I were alive in 1980 to experience what had happened.
A nation of people on full alert. A nation of people that stopped whatever it was that they were doing to find the nearest television set, because the impossible was occurring right before their eyes. People calling up all of their friends to make sure that they were watching too. And when the horn sounded at the end of the final period, I can imagine the picture of Anytown, USA in my head: people dancing in the streets and singing songs, waving their American flags more proudly than ever. Writer E.M. Swift of Sports Illustrated summed up the evening perfectly, "It made you want to pick up your television set and take it to bed with you. It really made you feel good."
I wish I had been alive to witness this madness firsthand, but instead I can only dream, imagine and hope that something similar happens again in my lifetime.
I would love to see our country come together again in 2006 if the United States shocks the globe and wins the World Cup soccer tournament. I would love to see the city of Boston in chaos as they embrace a World Series winning team. Or, on a much more personal level, people partying in Bellomy Street because the Santa Clara basketball team won the conference tourney and are going to the dance. I would love for a sporting event to unite complete strangers in the shared moment of victory.
Sports may not be the most important thing in life, but often times, they have the wonderful ability of being able to bring people together. As the "Miracle on Ice" of 1980 proved, sports can take on extra significance, rally a group of people and create a positive impact on society. That is what makes them special.
Â» Contact Blake Twisselman at (408) 554-4852 or firstname.lastname@example.org.