During hard times when the real world could not be any harsher, we can rely on sports to be our saving grace. We need that getaway from our work, from our bills, and from the evening news. Some of us look to drugs or alcohol; some of us look to books, movies, or music; longing for that escape to help us forget about our shortcomings. But for some of us, sitting down after a long day and putting on our favorite player’s jersey and cheering for our favorite teams while they play our favorite ball games is all that we need to keep our world stable. For some, it is the thing that defines us. It is where we find our passion. Nothing could be more soothing or therapeutic than seeing the home team step out in front of a crowd and take down the rival. Those athletes out on that field are our heroes, because they have the ability to control a destiny that most ordinary men will never have control over. They are the special few that have livelihoods where their mental and physical toughness directly affect the outcome of their fate. They will fight the good fight and come out as champions or they will go down in a blaze of rage and fury, and we as fans will be right there with them, because whether they know it or not they help to mold a huge part of our lives.
Now, after the horrific events that took place early Friday morning in Aurora, Colorado, the love of the game is what many of us will need to help us get through. We will remind our loved ones that we love them, be thankful for what we have in our lives, and pray for the victims’ families, but, at the end of the day, what we all need is a distraction. Something that we can always rely on to help us into the next day, week, or month. All of us as fans see that athletes can make catastrophic mistakes and shake it off and get back up. This idea is what made us coin the phrase, “there is always next year.” Sports has its villains and its heroes, but they are part of a story, and they bring us along for the ride. In the real world, the line between villains and heroes can be distorted. For the common man, sometimes life can be a little too real and we can lose our passion or zest for life and the front pages of the news can destroy our ability to forge ahead in this world, but when we see our heroes throw a touchdown pass, hit a homerun, or hit a three at the last second, it gives us hope. It gives us faith in our own lives that when we make disastrous screw-ups, we as humans can get back up and shake it off. It lets us know that miracles can happen and that even though we see anguish and suffering in this world everyday of our lives, there are reasons to keep our heads up. We will forge ahead just like our favorite athletes do on a regular basis. This is what we do as humans, athletes or not, we survive.