Friday, April 13, 2012

There's something about sports...

There's something about sport that I can't explain.  There's something about the way it makes me feel that I cannot explain. I know it is not the same for everybody but the people who have a true passion for sport can relate.  I have one particular instance in mind that I would like to share.  Before I get started I want you all to watch this video: .  So this video was from the 2010 World Cup where the United States was facing elimination in the final game of the group stages.  With the score tied at 0-0 and only 3 minutes of stoppage time remaining, Landon Donovan raced down the field to place home the game winner.  This goal not only helped the United States advance in the World Cup, it also helped them finish atop the group (above the favored England squad). Now I know this isn't the prettiest goal that was ever scored but what makes it beautiful is the pure joy it brings to so many people.  Here is the game play of the goal.  The joy on the faces of he players can only be matched by the joy of all the other US Soccer fans in the world.  Watching the reaction video gives me chills because I know those fans are experiencing the same emotions that I felt. Unfortunately, I did not film my reaction to this goal but in the pure excitement I jumped up and punched the ceiling which left my hand a little bloody. A memory that I will cherish forever and a moment that I can never forget is a great trade-off for a little scar on my hand.

Every single time I relieve this moment I get goosebumps.  This is one of the moments that I know will stick with me for the rest of my life.  It is incredible that sport can have such a lasting impact of those watching.  The sad part is, this wasn't even that big of a game on the grand scheme of things.  I can't even begin to image how Spain supporters felt when Andres Iniesta scored the game winning goal in the 116th minute to clinch the countries first ever World Cup title.  The United States' goal just helped us get out of the group stage whereas the Spain goal clinched the whole thing.  I have honestly sat here for 5 minutes and tried to think about what it would be like to be a Spanish fan whose team just won the World Cup with only 3 minutes of time to spare and I can't even dream the feelings they must have felt.  If I get chills whenever I watch the US goal, I might freeze if I was ever in the same place as a Spanish fan (stupid joke, I know but it holds some truth).

The problem for me with all of this is that I care too much.  It's almost to the point where I am scared to watch a sporting event because I don't want to get my hopes up and then have them slashed right in front of me.  Sport for me is kind of like a relationship where I am scared to open up because I don't want to let someone get too close to me and then hurt me.  With sport, if I never care about a team or care about a game, I can never get hurt.  This is stupid.  If I never opened myself up and watched any of the World Cup games, I would never have experienced one of the greatest sport-related moments of my life.  The good (or possibly bad) part about sports is there is always next year.  The United States got knocked out of the World Cup in the round of 16 to Ghana.  After the sour taste of defeat left my mouth, I was excited for the next World Cup.  Those 4 years couldn't come fast enough.  I knew that my team performed well which gives me confidence that we can perform well in the next World Cup.  At the start of the next World Cup my heart will be open a little more than it was the last time in the hopes that my team can provide another moment of happiness like it did before.  But again, with an open heart for sports you leave yourself open for disappointment/ heartbreak when your team loses or doesn't live up to your expectations.  I am prepared to take on this possible heartbreak in the hopes that another magical moment happens where my team surpasses my expectation.  I am prepared to move on in the future with an open heart and I can thank sport for that.

Pure excitement after Landon Donovan scored the game-winning goal against Algeria

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