Why do you love sports?

Hunter Martin

Fandom is personal.

Why do you enjoy sports? Why do you spend so much time, energy, and effort in following and investing in a game played by others? Why does a game with goofy rules and no meaning in the end-result of humanity cause such an emotional output in an adult?

Fandom is personal and you define it under your own worldview and personality. Those of us look to sports as a preeminent form of entertainment do it for many reasons. Friend/scribe/scholar/mensch Matt Zemek summed up his flavor of sport (and mine) after an emotional payoff from a final heart-stopping conclusion: "This is why we watch. This is why we care. This is why we give large parts of our lives to sport. It gives us moments of poignancy."

Many watch for the game itself. Some, as an avenue for catharsis or a way to escape the pressures of life or work for a couple of hours. Others watch for certain players.

I watch because sports are a shortcut to the attributes of humanity. When I see LeBron James fly through the air for a thunderous block, De'Anthony Thomas get in the open field on a kickoff return, or Cam Newton do Cam Newton things, I marvel at the human body and what it can accomplish. When I see a guy like Ray Graham return from a terrible injury and get back to his past prowess, I'm amazed at the human spirit and the walls it can break down.

When I see Army quarterback Trent Steelman, who had lost to Navy for three straight years, fumble just prior to scoring a game- and potential career-defining touchdown, I weep at how this game can teach so much about life and all of its challenges. And then, when I see the Navy coaches consoling a distraught Stillman after the game, I remember why there is nothing better in the world of entertainment than the spectacle of sport. It's a game for the soul and mind.

Sporting entertainment is organic; you have never seen the same game, let alone the same play or possession, twice. The rules are the same and many of the strategies remain timeless, but the game you sit down to watch has never been played in exactly this way before. You know what to expect but you do not know how it will be delivered. With March Madness just weeks away, we will all be blessed with many opportunities to see the very best of humanity.

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