Basketball News

How Sport Brings Us All Together in Hard Times

It was a summer day in 2022 in Kentucky—hot, humid, sunny. The day ended with me relaxing by the pool and watching the children I was giving birth to. Then at night I would play baseball with my friends. And by “played” I mean I controlled the aux and chatted with my friends while we watched some of our athletically inclined friends play. That’s a summary of how the summer months were spent. We were all students at the University of Kentucky and considered Lexington our home. I was going into my senior year and I had a great love for the city and the state as a whole. So, naturally, when part of the county was hurt, it really touched and moved me and others who called this place home.

In late July of 2022, there was a flood crisis in Eastern Kentucky, killing and displacing many people. Most of the affected towns were rural and not wealthy so this disaster would require more money than people could afford. As a student in the UK, I saw myself and others mourn the loss and trauma affecting another part of the Commonwealth. I remember seeing the news and at one point being speechless and wanting to jump in to help. But, being broke college students there wasn’t much we could do except volunteer or pray. We could not fix the money problem. The good news is that the players of the men’s basketball team also sympathize with these people, and they know how they can help. They went to Coach Cal and together they decided to host an open call practice event where all proceeds would go to help flood victims. In that three-hour period, they raised $2.4 million which greatly helped flood victims in their time of need. They did something extraordinary with their time and skills that I still love. I have always loved sports but their actions deepened my appreciation of how teams can impact the world around us.

Flash forward to August of 2023, my first month living in New York City. I knew I wanted to visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum to honor and pay my respects to those who lost their lives in a city I never knew I would love. When I was looking for tickets, I came across an earlier show called “The Comeback Season: Sports After 9/11.” In this exhibition, there were countless examples of how sports helped to heal and unite a nation that was hurting so much. From the Mets vs Braves game, to New York Jets players’ decisions to play or not, to victory laps around the NASCAR race track, a variety of stories were shared all surrounding the idea of ​​sports giving people time and space to heal from grief.

In 2005, World Cup athletes from the Ivory Coast used their visibility and encouraged their country to lay down its arms during the civil war. Soon after, a ceasefire was called. In 2013, a Boston Red Sox game brought together a city grieving the loss of the Boston Marathon bombing. In 2018, a two-player hockey team from North and South Korea briefly united fans and even sparked one-on-one talks between the leaders of the two countries. A Thai soccer team rescued from a cave has sparked worldwide celebration. Even the goal of today’s Olympic Games, according to the IOC, is to create a more peaceful and better world. And how do they do this? For sports. Again and again, we see sports placed at the center of the unifying vision.

Think about the last time you attended a sporting event. You may have gone to the game with family or friends but you were in a crowd of people who support the same team as you. And, when a famous player gets a clutch point, you high five, hug, shout with pride, cry in that sea of ​​strangers. Race, religion, socio-economic status, political party, gender; it didn’t matter. What mattered was the celebration of a good game.

In all of this, we see the same thing—sports. That is why sports are so important and so beautiful. Sports have a way of bringing people together like nothing else does. Bringing friends together is very possible. To heal the wounds during the crisis.

Photos via Getty Images.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button