Imagine the CEO of a Fortune 500 company walking towards an elevator at the end of a long, arduous day. From the other direction, the janitor approaches that same bank of doors.
Both hop on and ride 40 stories below to the lobby floor. Both have the same destination. They just want to go home and retire for the evening.
Now ask yourself, what could those two seemingly polar opposite individuals possibly have to discuss for the next couple minutes? What could they even remotely have in common?
I can think of two things. The weather and sports.
In this day and age it doesn’t take much to see how divided we are as a society. From race to gender to sexual orientation to political parties to religion, there are more lines being drawn between people than there really ever has in recorded history.
The world and its issues are pushing us apart. Sports has the unique power to bring us back together.
Here in St. Louis, it’s impossible to ignore the protesters who are demanding social – and otherwise legal – justice with regards to the killing of teenager Michael Brown last August by a police officer. Their message has been heard loud and clear. Whether you agree with that message or not is another matter entirely.
We as a community need sports more than ever before.
The healing power of a Matt Carpenter home run or a Vladimir Tarasenko wrap-a-round goal or a Robert Quinn sack can do more for healing than anyone realizes. The sheer joy and jubilation of witnessing a city come together despite all odds to the contrary speaks to the potential we as people have.
Why do some choose to rip society apart? It’s an impossible question to answer and a task far too difficult to understand fully. Yet even for those who don’t quite get the power of sports they still subconsciously crave it.
I’ve been asked time and again by non-sports lovers what it is about these “mere games” which I love so much. All I can say is sports doesn’t have a race. Sports isn’t black. It isn’t white. It isn’t gay or straight. It isn’t liberal or conservative. It’s neither man nor woman.
Sports really and truly is for all. Societies are unified in joy or heartbreak together. Enemies in life can put their differences to the side for an evening just to high-five a victory over a rival foe. Those moments really and truly are the best, getting men and women to put differences to the side over a common interest.
This is the escape fans crave. It’s the escape from turning on your television or reaching for your phone and seeing nothing but negative news going on in the world. It’s impossible to avoid. Our Facebook feeds are filled with negativity from bashing presidential candidates to arrests for the attempted murder of police officers.
Who can blame us for desperately needing to tune that out?
Enter sports. A simple ounce of pressure of the finger on your remote control can take your world from negativity to sheer joy in the blink of an eye. We can forget, however temporarily, what lies right outside of our window. For a moment, it doesn’t exist.