In the famous words of Nelson Mandela, “sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.”
Growing up in an active family, both in my general household and extended family, sports and competition was a part of my life. My father never had sons to do the typical football game or weekly comparing fantasy football rankings. However, he didn’t let the fact of having four daughters stop him.
He made it a point to take us to games of all sorts. I remember going to football games, baseball tournaments, hockey matches, watching soccer games and surfing competitions. Living in Southern California as a child made it fairly easy for us to have an active lifestyle because of the weather, which allowed for frequent hiking and camping.
These experiences gave me the opportunity to connect with people, each in their own individual way. I made friendships with my childhood soccer teammates.
When I was hiking the harder trail and made it to the top, fitness junkies were impressed and congratulated me. When I was calling plays and live reporting my high school football games, I had multiple people asking me the rules and reasoning behind referee calls. However, with every interaction, I always noticed my dad smiling proudly.
It’s because of my dad, and with a little help from my mom, that my sisters and I all took part and love sports and active activities. I love soccer, and I am down for the occasional volleyball match.
One sister followed behind mom’s footsteps and participated in track and field. My other sister is the real fitness freak because she has done gymnastics, dance, soccer and now cheer.
Due to our athletic and competitive nature in my house, my family and I were definitely expressive when we attended sporting events. When a game or match was a nail-bitter, none of us had a voice when we got back home. We shout so much that sometimes we lost our voices halfway through the game.
Now that my siblings and I are old enough to go to our school games the sense of community and unity are even more pronounced. The motion of rallying behind a commonality as a community is an awesome sight to see.
Obviously, COVID-19 has hindered on things, but we’ve gotten to the point where we are adapting to the changes.
As basketball season comes into full swing, I’m interested in what the season holds. Given that our men’s basketball team made it to the Final Four two years ago, the stakes and the excitement are higher.
Frankly, basketball isn’t my cup of tea. But now that I’m a Red Raider, why not adopt the newfound love for the sport? Sports is a universal entertainment that connects people. Pope Francis puts it this way, “sport fosters contact and relationships with people who come from diverse cultures and walks of life.”
I personally can’t wait to see what Tech’s basketball culture is like. I want to experience the new sense of belonging. I want to feel the excitement in the air.
I want to hear the chants in the student section. It may look very different than what we’re used to, but the romanticism of overcoming obstacles is what will make this season of life memorable.
Sports provide the momentary escape, community and unity that we all need. The shared experiences we have together is something to treasure. Find that piece for yourself, and I promise it won’t disappoint.