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Life of Reilly
Rick Reilly
November 12, 2007
It Isn't Just A Game
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November 12, 2007

Life Of Reilly

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It Isn't Just A Game

by Rick Reilly

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 sports."

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 because...

? 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 lifeā€”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.

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