By Benjamin Ramirez
Sports, both amateur and professional, range on a spectrum from being utterly hated to being worshiped like a religion.
With modern technology, fans are more connected to their respective teams compared to the past, making them able to receive minute to minute score and team updates. With this advance in technology, more people are becoming emotionally involved with their teams. Although professional sports in particular are more than anything, an entertainment business created to give paying spectators something fun to watch, they mean so much more to fans.
To those who follow their teams, athletes are almost larger than life. Global sports stars are so widely revered that major brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour sponsor these athletes, giving their own lines of clothing, including shoes. These same athletes are capable of influencing and promoting change, not only in our country, but around the world. And when something happens to a superstar athlete, all sports fans take notice.
As fans, professional sports are a part of our lives, both emotionally and socially.
For instance, when Miami Marlins’ pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed on September 25 in a boating accident, the entire baseball community stood at what felt like a stand still.
A moment of silence was held in his honor prior to every game played on that day and was talked about on football broadcasts throughout the day. The Marlins’ game against the visiting Atlanta Braves was canceled. When they played the New York Mets the next day, the sports world watched, wondering how the Marlins would be impacted by the loss of a teammate.
Marlins’ second baseman, Dee Gordon, one of Fernandez’s best friends, led off in the bottom of the first inning. Gordon, who is not known for his power, in romantic fashion, hit the longest home run he has ever hit.
As Gordon jogged around the bases crying, sports fans cried with him because Gordon’s emotion could be felt through their phones, tablets, laptops and television screens.
That is the romanticism that goes along with sports. Love for the game is something intangible that cannot be taught or even explained. It resonates in any person willing to feel it and it leaves people with love and respect for the game. That feeling is what prompts children to go outside and play catch with their parents, and high school athletes to dedicate their time to their sport.
Yes, professional sports may be an entertainment business at its most complex, but at its simplest sports are an entity that fosters genuine love: an entity that brings people together to cry and laugh and scream and smile, and an entity that connects generations, socially and emotionally.