I finally get it. I finally understand the role of sports in our lives.
For years I have struggled with this. Why sports? What purpose do they have? I’ve always been under the persuasion that all situations must have a win-win resolution. I’m a big fan of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits for Highly Effective People. Isn’t that Habit 4? Win-win. I love to have a win-win situation. Compromise. Find a solution. Work together.
But none of this is true in sports. In the sporting world, each team or individual is fighting for his own. One team must win, so the other must lose. I dislike this. This can turn people violent towards one another. It can turn people mean and angry and bitter. It blocks people from seeing the good in another person’s glory. It’s selfish.
However, this year I got the opportunity to experience the Royals postseason. I experienced it a bit begrudgingly, I must admit. All of the yoga I missed, all of the personal experiences I wanted to have, got put on hold for my husband and his dream of being with a team that won the world series. And, begrudging though I have finally, at this moment, realized what it’s all about.
This past month of my life I have experienced an entirely new concept of the word unity. I have seen it woven through every thread of this city and beyond. The Royals have brought together young and old, weak and strong, various genders, various races, various beliefs, all uniting under one common thread: to support our team. Yoga classes have been canceled. Painting classes have been delayed. Employers have called off work. Everyone in the city and outside of the city has been unified in our support of the Royals.
Because of this experience, I’ve re-connected with several acquaintances, some lost, some not. I’ve deepened my relationships in current relationships (most notably: my husband), and acquired some new ones. I’ve had family members bring their entire support system into this series, and we’ve had connections from all over the country.
And did we lose? Yes. Is it sad? Yes. But to me, the fact that they lost is irrelevant. The Royals finally showed me the meaning of sports in our lives. It’s not always about winning and losing. It’s about unification and finding a common thread between all types of different people. And throughout this, I have been proud to call Kansas CIty my home.
Unfortunately, because we did lose, there were many sad faces – my husband’s among them. And I guess that’s how it goes with sports. One person has to lose so the other person must win. And so of course, there will be happiness and there will be sadness, and there will be all sorts of different emotions for all sorts of different teams. And I am sad that the Royals lost, but maybe the Royals didn’t win the World Series because it was more important for the Giants to win. I don’t know why. I don’t know what that means, and I don’t really know if we’re supposed to. But we cannot control the outcome. We cannot control everything in our lives, and oftentimes we will experience disappointment when we have no control over the situation. And the disappointment can be deep. City-wide deep.
But now the Giants have so much to celebrate. Yes, we did not win, but the people who support the Giants, the people who play for the Giants, are no different than us. People are just people. There is no difference. Your happiness is my happiness. Your sorrow is my sorrow. Even though we are experiencing different emotions all stemming from the same event, we are all one. These are emotions from the human experience. They are universal and unifying.
So to the Giants – congratulations. And to the Royals – you played your heart out and it showed. And to all sports fans, of baseball, basketball, football – whatever – this is for you too. Congratulations. We are all one. Though we didn’t win the championship, we won the bond.
I can now say I will never again experience sports the same way. It is no longer just an “entertainment” industry to me. Yes, it’s just a game. Yes, it’s outcome has no real relevance on my personal life. But, it brings people together. It allows us to all have the human experience. And, hopefully, we can walk away from all of it with great sportsmanship: to be honestly, sincerely, happy for the other team.