Culture

For the love of sports: Foles, Manning, Keshavan, & Gerard

It is Valentine’s Day! I have no pretty poetry to share. I have no ode. But I wish you all well. What I do have are a few words on sports. My love of sports. So there you go.

When people look at me they often incorrectly assume that I do not like sports. They take my dresses, high heels, and love of pink to mean that I do like watching sports or talking about it. It is such a tired, silly assumption in this day and age. What do you do? Well, I go right ahead and talk about sports with people. Random people. Co-workers. Party-goers. I can talk about baseball, football, tennis and so on. I admit I don’t care too much for basketball. I have fun watching live basketball games in stadiums but don’t ask me to watch it on television. But that’s neither here nor there. Back to me and sports.

I grew up loving baseball. I was a Mets fans despite living near Yankee Stadium. Go figure. I grew up loving tennis. I loved the tantrums and the power of the individual. I loved the big games such Wimbledon and the US open, as well as the Superbowl and the World Series. Yet, I can’t run a very good run out on the concrete jungle. I can run with the best on a treadmill but the outside air makes my asthma want to make a comeback.

Anyway, for a girl like me, the last few weeks have been divine as we have been immersed in fabulous sports games and personal stories of triumph. And I needed the rush and adrenaline from watching all these sports.

When we watch sports we don’t want there to be an easy win. Or should I say I don’t want? Nah. We want competition. We want finesse and strength. We want to yell and cheer, as well as jeer. We want a nail biter and a cause to cheer for till the very end. Thus, no easy wins, please. That is in part why Tom Brady has become persona non grata. Why stadiums en masse boo him. He made his wins seem too easy and they came too often. Sure, we loved that Michael Phelps won so many medals but that is because he was often the sole player in that particular competition against the world. And his wins were not always pretty.

But what I have loved the last few weeks are these underdog and comeback stories that have come through. Nick Foles was the back-up Quaterback for the Eagles and yet he won the Superbowl against the giant that is Tom Brady. That victory must have been bread pudding sweet. I don’t know what the future holds for him and whether he is to remain a back-up but he sure gave us a fabulous game in which we got to cheer, jeer, have heartburn and jump for absolute joy. His is almost a football Cinderella story. Meanwhile, the only other quarterback to defeat Brady is Eli Manning and he had a rough year that ended kind if sweet. He was benched by the NY Giants mid-year in a disrespectful way. I felt for him.

Yet, the night that Tom Brady lost he had one of the best (if not best) Superbowl commercials in which he acted out the Dirty Dancing lift.Score!

Then during the Olympics (which are still in week one) a 17 year old became a snowboard hero. I was watching the competition that seemed fierce and just full of awe and twists and turns. And unbelievably, Red Gerard took home the gold for the US wining in a bit of an upset whereas he initially began in last place. The previous run on the slope he had fallen. I watched the fall and thought that at least he was young and could come back again. I think I was not the only one that wrote him off for the third run. But then he did magic on the slopes and scored amazingly high after which two other competitors fell and he won the gold. You can never give up. It sounds so trite and yet this young man just proved in a dynamic manner how true such platitudes can be.

Then you have Shiva Keshavan from India. He is the only athlete representing India at the Olympics. He is a luge athlete. He has been to more than 4 Olympics and never does too well. But he has repeatedly gone, more often than not on his own dime and through a lot of barriers. He hasn’t had a coach. He often takes the bus or get lifts from others to go to the competition events. He even almost missed the last Olympics but a Canadian border agent gave him ten dollars to be able to make it. This past week on one of his luge runs he fell off the board. But you know what? He finished the run. And he came back for the next run. His journey has been difficult but how can you not be inspired by him? If they could give put a medal for resiliency I would sure hope that he would get one for from what I have seen he deserves one.

And that folks is my love of sports.

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