Tuesday, May 17, 2022
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Children, family, and sports

I grew up watching sports with my father and brothers. We regularly attended Royals, Chiefs and Blades games throughout our childhood. Every Sunday during the regular season we made a ritual of church, lunch, and then football. Although I look back on these moments fondly and with nostalgia, I have to admit that I didn’t really appreciate them until recently.

As a kid, sports were always something I just experienced with my family. Some families have game night but for us it was often sporting events. In my youth, I never really grasped why they were important beyond the importance of “family time.” At baseball games, I looked forward to singing during the 7th Inning Stretch and the chocolate malt  with which I was rewarded for my patience and good behavior. During hockey games, I always enjoyed watching the Zamboni clean the ice and the mascots playfully slide across it like in cartoons. And for football, it was hot chocolate and chants.

In Junior High I actually started watching the games. I became more involved in the dialogue of sports, more aware of my home teams and was genuinely concerned with their successes. Years of this has developed in me a passion for sports.,However, it wasn’t just exposure over time which made me appreciate sports.

Part of me feels guilty for not watching the games more closely as a kid. Part of me believes that most children don’t appreciate a sporting event for the game itself. Now, I am just thankful I had these experiences—experiences which give me context to the hurricane of excitement currently surrounding the Royals in the World Series.

When my older brother called me and told me we were going to buy a package of tickets for the second game of the World Series, I felt an immediate surge of joy. I didn’t care how much they cost and I still don’t. It could be a once in a lifetime event and seeing the Royals succeed, a team which I grew up expecting to fail, is something of which I am excited to be a part.

My father, brothers and I tailgated for hours before the game, reminiscing and drinking, not just to our team that has been revived, but to ourselves. Here we were again, reliving an experience that helped shape us and something which we all knew and could always come back to and enjoy together.

It occurred to me then, as it had before, just why it is that sports matter to us, or at least why they should. They unite us. They are part of our identity and because of that they can remind us of who we are when we need it most. They give us a reason to be excited! They open a dialogue with those around us as readily as talking about the weather. They reaffirm and redefine what we believe to be true about humanity and ourselves. They give us hope.

Living in Kansas City is part of who I am. The Royals are giving me another reason to celebrate my city, my family and myself. Expect to see me covered in blue for the next few weeks. It’s just who I am.

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