It Isn't Just A
WHEN I was a
sophomore in college, working on the town newspaper, a professor took me aside
and said, "You need to get out of sports. You're better than
I still get that
crap. "So when are you going to graduate from sports and go write for
TIME?" strangers will say. "You know, do something important?"
I stamp my feet
and hold my breath and insist that sports is important and worthy of my
devotion. And they go, "Why?" And that's when I look at them like a
poodle at a card trick. But now I'm ready with my answer.
I love sports
? It's about
loyalty and passion and family. We love the Vikings because Grandma loved the
Vikings, and nothing and nobody is going to make us switch. Sports isn't an
escape from life—it's woven into the fabric of it.
? It leads to
instant parades. How cool is that? Name anything else in life that galvanizes a
city to pull off a parade involving 500,000 people with two days' planning? And
then the guys in the parades do jigs in kilts!
? It's the best
kind of reality TV. That's real blood. Those are real tears. There's no
director hollering, "Cut! Effects!" I was covering the NBA once when
Seattle's 7' 2" Tom Burleson fell hard under the hoop. No foul. As he was
running downcourt, hand to bleeding mouth, he suddenly whipped something that
hit me in the chest and plopped onto my notepad. It was his tooth.
? It gives us a
sense of place. Even if there isn't a single Indianapolis Colt from
Indianapolis, the players live there, they eat there, they take out their trash
there. They carry the flag for our town and our friends. And in this era of
one- Starbucks-per-parking-meter cities, sports gives us Wrigley, Fenway and
Lambeau. Remember that the next time they want to tear your stadium down and
put up a damn Invesco Field.