Thursday, June 18, 2020

What Do You Miss About Sports that Surprises You?

As you know all too well, "The coronavirus pandemic has meant that people all over the Unite States have been unable to gather for worship for months." Consequently America magazine asked readers if they "found themselves surprised by what they missed about Mass or their faith community." Their answers were beautiful. They illuminated the power of Tradition, the sacraments and a community of faith. Here are but three responses, that moved me:
  • It surprises me how much I miss all of it. Even trying to find a seat, crying babies, unexciting homilies…. Of course I miss the Mass and the Eucharist, but the others surprise me. —Patty Amato Claremont, Calif. 

  • Everything I took for granted. Daily Mass after I drop my daughter off at school. Lighting candles for the sick (and sometimes paying for them!). Hearing a favorite hymn, and trying to sing it. Hearing Fathers Vince, Junior or Adam nailing a homily. Seeing the same 99-year-old man, with cane, genuflecting until his right knee hits the floor—and seeing him painfully getting up. Going out of my way to shake a hand at the sign of peace. Seeing others at Mass, whether 20 or 300, and knowing that despite our doubts...we are part of a 2,000-year tradition. The taste of a Communion wafer. Criticizing, in my head, the dude who leaves after Communion...and then feeling like a jerk because I don’t know his story. —Thomas Brzozowski Somerdale, N.J.

  • The being together...not only with my dear friends, but also with those I know only by sight, or recognize by where they sit or what they do. —Jennifer Anderson Astoria, N.Y.
What might you say? And since this is a blog about Sports and Spirituality, I'd like to pose the same question: What do YOU miss about sports that surprises you?

Perhaps you want to speak about professional sports hockey or basketball—which would otherwise be in not ordinary, but extraordinary time right now. Who would still standing in the playoff run? Or maybe you love the Olympics. Are you missing the opening ceremony? the torch? and that regal theme? The good news is that you only have to wait one year instead of four more to watch the games in Tokyo.
While watching the latest "30 for 30" entitled "Long Gone Summer," I realized I missed the unique story lines that emerge during every season. I love when an athlete, a team, a quest/challenge/feat creates enough of a buzz that it catches my frequency, leads me to seek the opinions of others and so forth. For example, were it 1998 all over again, I would ask my Cardinals' fans their thoughts on Mark McGwire and Cubs fans who do they love more: Kerry Wood or Sammy Sosa?

One aspect of this story line that surprised me was just how many OTHER fans got behind their quest to break Roger Maris' record. When the Cardinals traveled to Miami to play the Marlins, fans were so excited about McGwire's long ball, they gave him a standing ovation. They made so much nose on top of the visitor's dugout that he ran out to tip his cap and acknowledge their enthusiasm. 

This is what I miss about sports that surprises me. I miss being a fan, and believe it or not there is an art to being a good fan. A good fan pays attention. He is or she is not vulgar are rude. They realize they are a part of something bigger, something that can in fact be spirituality. I delight in those moments when an emotion catches fire inside a stadium not by the athletes but by those there to support them. This feeling is so strong, it can't be ignored by fans or the players. There is a call and there is a response as I saw with McGwire and baseball fans. We all say the struggle is real....well so is the symbiosis.
Sports are inching back. Matches in the Premier League commence June 19. The PGA has resumed play and high school sports everywhere are practicing in pods. The accommodations, the modifications, new time lines, and the absence of fans will remind us we are not in the clear....but it's something. So before this next chapter begins, please share your response to the question: What do you miss about sports that surprises you?

Thanks for reading and responding!

Photo Credits

No comments:

Post a Comment