Culture / Sports / April 19, 2013

In the face of tragedy, sports matter

From my weekly article at

photo credit: (Alex) via photopin cc

It can feel strange, trite even, to turn on the TV and watch a baseball game or go to an arena to see a hockey game after what happened in Boston Monday. Do sports really matter in the face of such tragedy? Is there value in investing time in sporting events when there is so much real, serious, and recent pain in the background?

Maybe a story of sports and another tragedy will help answer those questions. Buster Olney, a baseball columnist and broadcaster for ESPN, recounted on a recent podcast what happened in New York after 9/11. After the collapse of the Twin Towers, many New York Yankees players thought about calling it quits for the season. They felt the game had lost meaning and might be an insult to New Yorkers since it is just that, a game. But during rescue and cleanup efforts, several players were invited to a shelter for families of victims and the missing. The players felt so inadequate and out of place. What did they have to offer to those who had lost so much? It was only after All-Star outfielder Bernie Williams offered a hug to a distraught woman and saw how her shoulders lifted and her eyes lit up that the players began to recognize what a difference they could make to the people of New York.

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Read the full article HERE.

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