Some moments just baffle us. We are left with gaping mouths, jumping up and down in shock and disbelief.
The early morning of Sept. 28 was one of those moments. As the clock struck midnight, fate had dealt its hand. The Red Sox and Rays were both down to the final outs of their final regular-season games, and the end result was one of the most shocking headlines in sports history. The Orioles’ RobertAndino hit a walk-off single to upset Boston, while Tampa Bay’s Dan Johnson and Evan Longoriahomered to pull off a stunning comeback against the Yankees in 12 innings. Talk about a movie script.
Even the casual baseball fan like me knew of the drama unfolding between the collapsing Red Sox and the upstart Rays. Somehow, Boston managed to squander its nine-game wild-card lead in less than four weeks. And the fact that it came down to the final game of a 162-game season is incredible. Anyone who even remotely follows sports heard about this miracle — or disaster, for Bostonians — when they woke up on Thursday morning.
These kinds of moments remind us why we watch the game. Whether we were anxiously huddled around the TV in our room, standing under the Yates treadmill screens or following each pitch on an online game tracker, there is something spectacular about witnessing the impossible happen. For a few fleeting moments, we put down our homework and revel in the amazing.
Sports are that break from reality that we need on a daily basis. To a certain extent, we are all impacted and influenced by sports, no matter how nerdy we are. We go to Hoya basketball games, play in intramurals, train at Yates, read the sports section of the newspaper, play fantasy football, watch SportsCenter and debate with our friends. Who would want to go through life without watching the Super Bowl or the World Cup? Life without sports would suck.
They’re why we buy overpriced cable just so we can watch ESPN, why we wear our favorite jerseys around campus, why we trek to the Metro through the D.C. snowpocalypse. They’re how we define where we’re from and where we go to school.
And yet, one question always bothers me. When I think about pursuing a career in the sports industry, I also wonder how I would be improving and contributing to society. Compare sports to politics, economics or medicine. Are they just mindless games that have no positive effects on the rest of the world? Whose job is really “worth” more, a baseball manager’s or my history professor’s? LeBronJames’ or a hospital surgeon’s? I’m starting to sound like Karl Marx.
However, there is an obvious rebuttal. In the end, the world of sports is a business, just like any other job where making money is the goal. With an estimated value of over $400 billion, it’s safe to say that the U.S. sports industry makes a pretty hefty contribution to the health of our society, at least from an economic perspective.
But its massive worth is not the main reason why we need athletics. Let’s face it — there is more to life than all the seriousness of politics, science and homework. Sports help us stay sane.
And since I have not yet been married or become a father, my most spectacular memories of the past 10 years have mostly been sports-related. Moments that we could never even dream of happening happen right before our own eyes. We’ll never forget Tyree’s or Holmes’ Super Bowl catches, AbbyWambach’s and Landon Donovan’s last-second World Cup goals, Marshawn Lynch’s game-winning touchdown against the Saints, George Mason’s Cinderella run, that Cubs fan who interfered with a home run, Tiger Woods’ one-legged U.S. Open victory or the Syracuse-UConn six-overtime thriller. Tack on last Thursday’s heroics at Tropicana Field, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for happiness and sheer amazement.
Impossible is nothing. That doesn’t sound so corny anymore, does it?
Nick Fedyk is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service. DOUBLE NICKTWIST appears every Tuesday.