Print Edition: January 22, 2014
Today’s society can be divided into two groups of people: those who watch sports and those who couldn’t care less. Growing up, I have seen some incredible moments, both negative and positive, that came from athletic achievements and athletic stages.
The Vancouver riots on June 15, 2011 are a prime example of how sports can negatively impact a society. The city became distraught after more than two-and-a-half months of emotional investment and hanging on everything the team did. It was almost inevitable that the city would boil over, no matter the end result of the game.
On the other hand, during a Boston Red Sox game after the now infamous Boston Marathon bombings, Red Sox captain David Ortiz gave a now-famous speech, uttering the words, “this is our fucking city,” to raucous applause. The event was so much more important than anyone could have known at the time; the city was divided, and then united against a common enemy. The city fell in line as they realized the enemy was outside, and the city was not going to tear itself up but instead rise above and show true strength in numbers.
Sports bring people together when times are tough. Some may think that being so invested in sports is a source of negativity, but I truly believe sports bring out the best in people. They show what people are like, because there is nothing to hide behind. Sports players completely bare themsevles every time they step onto the field, court, or ice.
No matter the end result of the game, the way people are so easily affected by sports can be treated negatively by those who don’t understand the point. Sports exist as a means for members of a community to gather and watch or play in a respectful and competitive environment. It is people who let their emotions get the better of them that present a negative association with sports, but overall sports are far more beneficial than they are detrimental to communities around the world.
Although sports can be a medium for everything that is wrong with society, from those that don’t get why they are such a big deal (the attack on Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks from this weekend), sports and athletic stages bring people together and unite broken communities in so many ways.