What’s in a game

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Imagine the feeling a small child has when he opens a Christmas present and discovers the toy he desired all year long. Or imagine the feelings of a bride and groom at their wedding, or the emotions felt by parents at the birth of their child, or even the reaction of Americans on V-J Day. What do all of these moments have in common? These types of moments bring pure excitement and joy to individuals.

Now, you may be wondering, “Why am I about reading about magical life moments in a sports column?” It is because great sports moments are capable of giving people this same kind of pure joy and excitement. There are few things in life that amaze, excite, inspire and fill one with greater joy than iconic and legendary sports moments.

What makes these moments so joyous? Well, it is similar to the reason we love tales of epic heroes such as Hercules and Odysseus. Epic heroes face adversity, struggle to overcome obstacles and look the impossible in the eye and laugh. Nothing stops them from fulfilling their quest.

It is the same with athletics teams. A group of individuals work together with the desire to achieve a common goal. They willingly put themselves through mental and physical hardships, devoting their time and energy to reach this elusive goal. They walk through hell with a smile, hoping that someday they will get the chance to obtain their cherished prize.  

When the day comes to claim the prize, one final obstacle stands in the way: an opposing team whose sole purpose is to stop this team of heroes. The heroic team battles it out with their opposition, and after an exhausting struggle, acquiring the treasure comes down to one last play. One play to realize the goal or have it stripped away. Time stands still as the world holds its breath, supporters of our heroes hope for the best and fear the worst. Then the culmination of the weeks, months, or even years of hard work pay off as our heroes make the play and win the prize.

This is why these moments fill athletes, coaches and fans with pure joy. There is nothing more exciting than seeing a dream come true. Witnessing the accomplishment of a goal, especially when the goal is deemed impossible, is the most magical thing in the world.

There have been many magical moments in sports, legendary moments such as The Play, the Music City Miracle, the Shot Heard ‘Round the World, the Goal of the Century and the Miracle on Ice, to name a few. And even though these moments happen long ago, you can still feel their magic rippling through time. If you understand the significance of these moments, you can’t help but be as moved as I am upon hearing iconic calls like “The band is out on the field!”, “The Giants win the pennant!” or “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”

I truly feel pity for those who have little interest in sports. They rob themselves of a chance to take part in the hero’s epic. The problem is that some people take sports at face value — as just a game between two teams. I believe that this is a mistaken view of sports. It takes effort, but if you look hard enough you can find a deeper meaning in sports. I believe that sports can supply an accurate metaphor and representation for life; undergoing a lifetime of pain for just one moment of joy and an eternity of glory.

I will continue believing in the magic of great sports moments, and any time I think of all-time legendary moments, I will continue to feel the joy that those magic moments conjure up.

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