Sport touches the depths of our emotion. Remember the old ABC theme “…the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat”? As a Portland Trailblazer fan, I carry a permanent scar on my heart from ‘The Meltdown’ loss to the Lakers in game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals. That atrocity ranks close to ‘the loss of a close friend’ on my emotional scale. As deep and dark as that horrible event was, so too was the height and brilliance of the 1977 championship win over the Sixers. What is it about our soul that seems to yearn for the extreme? I suspect that apart from birth, love and death, sport uniquely spans the spectrum of our emotion.
Sport lets us believe in the impossible. “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” It doesn’t happen often enough but every now and then, just about the time we are ready to succumb to the predictable, to the inevitable…Whump! Young David rises up to smite the giant – whether that behemoth is the perennial powerhouse or the untouchable world record. It’s this aspect of sport that can, at any time, any place, stir the little kid in us to ask “why not?”
Sport engages our mind. No more “dumb jock’ jokes, please. Obviously sport is a physical discipline, but even the casual fan will tell you that mind and body work together. But when one gets to the top of his game, the mental aspect is huge – not only in the sense of getting “psyched up’ but in devising strategy, studying video, researching and developing training technique, etc. More than any other time in history, sport has now become a science. For the participant and spectator alike, there is plenty of mental stimulus in today’s sporting world – and we can swim as deep as we like in those waters.