13: What Sports Is All About

13: What Sports Is All About

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tales of Golf and Sport

What Sports Is All About

Sports is human life in microcosm.

~Howard Cosell

My boy is only three years old, but I know the day will come when he asks me about the birds and the bees. That task, I will graciously leave to my wife, bless her. But in return, I will share with him a few of life’s other important lessons.

The conversation might go something like this....

“Dad?”

“Yes, son.”

“Why do you like sports so much? I mean, what’s it all about for you?”

“That’s easy, son. It’s about eye-black, stickum and pine tar. It’s fourth and goal, first and long, and John 3:16. It’s about tapping in a sixteen-foot putt for an eagle on the eighteenth after seventeen holes of triple bogeys. It’s about divots, brush-burns, rally caps, the Miracle On Ice, and Lions, and Tigers and Bears (Oh my!).

“It’s Goose Gossage, Bear Bryant and Catfish Hunter. Sweaty gym socks, the Boston Red Sox and the penalty box; ballpark franks, checkered flags and if you ain’t rubbin’, you ain’t racin’. It’s about sudden death, extra innings and being behind the eight ball; the Green Monster, Wrigley ivy and Yankee pinstripes; goal-line stands, the terrible towel and the Dog Pound. RBIs, FGs, HRs, TDs, FTs and the 7-10 split.

“It’s about tying flies, slimy worms, baiting the hook and having fun whether you catch a fish or not.

“It’s about ‘...and down the stretch,’ ‘Let’s get ready to rrrumble,’ ‘How ya hubba’ and ‘Holy cow.’ Cans of corn, blue darters and playing pepper in the backyard until the sun goes down and you can’t see the ball anymore.

“It’s about the Music City Miracle (even though the Bills lost), the Immaculate Reception and the Drive.... The Thrilla in Manila, No Mas, and floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee. It’s about Any Given Sunday, The Fish That Stole Pittsburgh, and Rocky I through V (although V wasn’t all that good)... mashed-potato mouthpieces, Little League baseball, Pop Warner football, face masks, shin guards, shin pads, the stand-up slide and natural grass... sunflower seeds, chewing gum and Gatorade.

“It’s about driving the lane, finding your line and being in the zone; press boxes, dugouts, sidelines and that peanut guy who can hit you between the numbers from twelve rows down and hand you your change before you can open the bag.

“It’s about still being in your seat long after the game is over because we were having too much fun to realize the game was over... grand slams, Hail Marys and the suicide squeeze... hearing swoosh before the buzzer, slap shots, wrist shots, sand traps, Ping Pong, aces high and bull’s-eyes.

“It’s about tailgates, the tale of the tape and knocking a leaner off with a ringer; starting blocks, tackling dummies and spring training. The boys of summer, the rope-a-dope, who’s on first, what’s on second, and I don’t know—third base.

“It’s about Go Army, Beat Navy and how kids scream ‘car’ during street hockey games to let the goalies know they need to move their nets. It’s about playing umpteen games of P-I-G and Around the World in the driveway until you finally beat your older brother.

“It’s about cutmen who can make Frankenstein’s monster look like Christie Brinkley, first basemen who can scoop up a dirt ball like it were rocky road and goalies who guard their nets like Fort Knox. It’s about slumps, streaks and standing Os... the Ice Bowl, the Super Bowl, Lord Stanley’s Cup, the Heisman and Touchdown Jesus.

“It’s about the smell of your first baseball glove, the feel of your first lucky bat and the sound of your mother cheering at your first football game.

“In short, son, it’s about the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat and everything in between.

“But most importantly, it’s about passing all this on to your son one day as my dad did to me and I am to you.”

~William Wilczewski
Chicken Soup for the Sports Fan’s Soul

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