On this, the Friday before the AFC championship game in which the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots will battle for a chance to represent their city in the Super Bowl, now seemed an appropriate time to think about the power of sports.
From the NFL and MLB to local youth leagues, sports have the power to connect us. Perhaps no other positive social event connects the American public as much as sports. Think about it.
Politics are often divisive. Religion, often too personal. Perhaps the only thing that connects us more, as people, is the American spirit. The genuine belief that our rights, privileges and duties in this country make us unique. The sad truth is that the bond of citizenship is often felt at our most trying times. But sport is different.
Athletic achievements bind our cities and states together in a common cause like no other. From the child that dares to cross the finish line, despite his aching legs, to the joy a city feels as their team hoists the Lombardi Trophy – sports at all levels provides us with a reason to believe, a reason to cheer, and above all else, a common bond with the person next to us.
So, as much of the nation clutches their armchair (and their buffalo wing) this weekend, take a minute to look around and enjoy the sights of neighbors becoming friends and strangers high fiving as they pass on the street. On Sunday, a game will provide citizens in four cities with the joy of knowing that they are part of something bigger than themselves – even if just for four quarters.
Regardless of outcome of those games, Monday morning we all will be reminded that we too are part of something bigger – the American experiment – as an enduring symbol of our democracy is played out for all to see.
What are you part of?