When are sports coming back? This is a question many are begging to know. To some, sports is their life and their job; to others, their hobby and their passion. On the flip side, many wonder if sports add any real value to society. While sports enjoy tremendous popularity, more importantly, they are vehicles for transmitting values such as justice, fair play, and teamwork.
Throughout history, sports have been a "social glue" bonding the country. Let’s look at some instances in which sports have helped “glue” us together.
A Look at History
Sporting events of all kinds were enjoyed by many during the Great Depression to distract from the suffering and provide comradery as folks pulled together to cheer on their teams. While politicians and bankers played their own types of games, citizens turned on their radios and flocked to fields to enjoy sports without the worries of economic woes, if for only a few hours. It was a time to gather with friends and focus on something other than the financial turmoil plaguing them.
Kurt Zehmisch, a German lieutenant in World War I, recorded in his diary these words depicting a scene on Christmas of 1914. "A couple of Britons brought a ball along from their trenches, and a lively game began… Thanks to soccer and Christmas, the holiday of family, deadly enemies briefly came together as friends." Sports brought enemies together for a respite from the brutality and malice surrounding them.
More recently, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, sports shaped a national response to events far beyond the playing field. In the months that followed, sports set an emotional cadence for a grieving nation. Ballparks, racetracks, and arenas offered fans a place to come cheer together. The rituals of sports were extended to commemorate those killed on 9/11 and honor those who protect us. In stadiums around the country, millions found a path forward, combining reverence for the fallen with devotion to the games.
During this time of distress and social disruption, I believe that the return of professional sports will be a sign to many that the country is recovering and will help provide the “glue” that will once again unite us as a nation and give hope for a better future.
Article by Caleb Ball