In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I thought it was only right that I pour my heart out and gush about my first true love, sports. Here are the reasons I love sports…from A to Z.
Athletes- Without you, I’d have nothing. Seriously.
Buzzer Beaters- This is a gift and a curse, but regardless of whether my team is on the winning or losing side, I always marvel in disbelief and think what a ride!
Clutch Gene- Hitting a base hit to extend the inning, leading a game-winning drive with less than two minutes remaining, hitting the game-winning shot, or knocking down a pair of free throws, it doesn’t matter the form. Across all sports, on every level, nothing tops witnessing an athlete in possession of a dominant clutch gene do work, especially when their team needs it most. When they switch into beast mode and takeover, it’s next level amazing.
Debates- Nothing is off limits because the master manipulator that I am will trap you into a circular discussion that has no finish line. And when you’re part of a family who debates every. single. thing, you become extremely good at it. Even if by chance I’m proven wrong, which happens exactly never, but hypothetically speaking, I’d stand my ground like the true champion I am. Test me.
ESPN Highlights- I was raised on Romper Room, The Cosby Show, and ESPN Highlights. But being content watching the same ESPN highlights back to back for hours without interruption is the epitome of living the dream…unless my team lost in the playoffs or championship. Because if that’s the case then it’s the epitome of living a nightmare. And at that point, ESPN ceases to exist in my universe. I’m off that for a week…at least.
Food and Beer- Having a legit excuse to unapologetically and publicly over indulge in terrible, greasy artery clogging food and multiple rounds of beer is a major win.
Gus Johnson- If you mic’d me up in a booth and let me loose, I could only hope the undying passion I have for the game would be as illuminating as it is when Gus is making the calls. In a time when TV personalities are so caught up with appearing fair and balanced, it’s relieving to see a pro like Gus go apeshit over a remarkable game-winning play. He’s a god.
Hi-Fiving- The discomfort caused by having my personal space invaded by strangers is no longer a concern when I’m taking in the action live or at a bar. Locking eyes with a stranger who shares my team affiliation is the fastest way to win me over and remedy my germophobia. It’s also the only time I’ll openly engage in the otherwise uncool social expression of hi-fiving. With every base hit, clutch free throw, or first down, I’m spreading love one hi-five at a time.
Iverson- Cornrows, crossover, rebellious attitude, dripped in diamonds and completely swagged out in jerseys and oversized jeans. That’s the Iverson I’ve loved since his Hoya days. And anything the tabloids report about him these days is rubbish. Miss me with all of it.
Jets Jordan- The Jets vs Jordan? Not even close. Despite MJ repeatedly ripping my heart out as a child, and shrugging it off like it was nothing, I appreciate and respect everything he’s done for the game — sports, basketball, and our culture. He set the bar, eclipsed it, and set it again. Salute to His Airness.
Knicks- The extreme highs and lows we’ve experienced together taught me what it means to love unconditionally. I’m your ride or die chick. Believe that.
Lionel Messi- ESPN taught me. I shed my American ignorance of the beautiful game in 2009 when I worked on ESPN’s World Cup campaign. While the media focused on Christiano Ronaldo, true futbol heads put me on to Messi and I’ve been obsessed with watching him play ever since. His agility, explosiveness, passing ability, and dominance are everything. If brilliance was a verb, the definition would be Messi.
March Madness- Duh.
Ninth-Inning Rallies- But only when it’s my team doing the rallying. Otherwise it sucks.
Olympics- The world’s most elite athletes unite on the grandest stage to compete all in the name of national pride. And we get to watch. What’s not to love?
Pro Football- Quarterbacks. Offense. Defense. Special Teams. NY Jets. Sacks. Hail Marys. The Build Up. Overtime. Rivalries. Super Bowl. NFL Redzone. Competition. The Hits. Sunday Rituals. Thanksgiving. Touchdowns. Fantasy Football. Pick 6s. Touchdown Celebrations. And probably a million more.
Quest for Championships- Because at the end of the day, that’s why players play and fans watch them play.
Rivalries- Yankees vs Red Sox. Cowboys vs Redskins. OSU vs UM. Duke vs NC. Auburn vs Bama. Lakers vs Celtics. Federer vs Nadal. Tennessee vs UCONN. Real Madrid vs Barcelona. Bears vs Packers. The emotions and memories conjured up at the thought of these matchups caused heart palpitations. Did you feel it too?
Streaking and Slumping- Sports is a game of numbers and recordkeeping. In order to deliver on that, streaking and slumping is necessary to raise the level of competition and prove the game is evolving as athletes continue to do what’s never been done before. The good and the bad. Whether you suck like the Charlotte Bobcats or go on a tear like Lebron James, the games needs it all.
The Dunk- Even though Starks and I beefed for years after his dreadful 2-for-18 shooting performance of Game 7 in the NBA Finals against the Houston Rockets, The Dunk is still one of my favorite sports moments EVER!
Underdogs and Upsets- Because you never see it coming. When powerhouses are dropped by underdogs, we all take an unexpected trip to bizzaro world. Up is down. Down is up. In is Out. Black is White. And as crazy as everything appears, I relish in the opportunity to return often because taking a chance on the underdog and watching them actually succeed is pretty awesome.
Vertical Leaps- Yep, I’m reaching here. Get it? Vertical leap…Reach. Dunking is an art. Getting enough elevation off the ground, momentum to finish strong, and a solid grip on the ball is way too much hand eye coordination for me to fathom. How do these dudes do it?
Winning- When I feel the world around me is crumbling, but my team is winning, suddenly everything else seems less important or at least more manageable. Winning. Life’s Elixir.
Xs and Os- Talent is important, but having a coach who understands the fundamentals of the game is priceless. And having one who doesn’t is torture. And when matched up against each other, it’s a beautiful mess.
Yankees- Kiss the rings. All 27 of them.
Zone- Not as in Zone defense or endZone, but more like “Don’t let me get in my zone. Don’t let me get in my zone.” The pure passion, focus, killer instinct, determination, and can’t be stopped(ness) really gets me going!
These are some of the reasons I love sports. But enough about me, I want to hear from you. Join the lovefest and share the reasons you love sports below. There’s nothing worse than being on the receiving end of unrequited love. So I beg of you, on Valentine’s Day, please don’t be that guy or gal.