An Abrupt End: What Sports Means to Us
The 2020 sports season has come to abrupt halt, and for many the lack of closure to the season has put bitter taste in participant’s mouths. Some programs were lucky enough to complete their seasons, but others that were not so fortunate are reflecting on what could have been.
The increasing spread of the coronavirus led organization and government leaders to make difficult decisions to shut down congregations of crowds, and of course, youth sports was a casualty. Winter sports seasons were not able to crown champions, and teams that did not compete for titles were left without an end, a simple goodbye. Spring sport seasons on the horizon still do not know when play will take place, or even more importantly, when there will be a beginning hello.
The complex feelings of all stakeholders in youth sports varies, and it is in this moment people realize why they love sports so much. Sports offers so many positives to not only players, but to coaches, parents, and spectators. Youth sports is a driving force of personal improvement that is constantly sought after with short- and long-term goals. Goals are different for each person. Player goals range from making the team, to making the big play, or winning a championship. Coach goals value the teamwork and the competition to work as one. Parents love to watch their child grow and reach their goals through challenge and adversity. And, well, spectators, they love being in the moment, witnessing it all, being a part of the journey.
Upon the decided conclusion of sports, several athletes and coaches have publicly commented on their lament of the sudden end. A large takeaway from these tweets, articles, posts, and interviews was not that the season was over, but rather that the day-to-day grind of waking up reaching their potential, and going to battle with teammates that have become friends, and players who have become like sons and daughters, has ended. It was never the end that bothered them, but the everyday moments that become stories that are no longer present.
We value sports for a variety of reasons. Competitors want to lay it all on the line, participants want to be active, and we all want to be witness to the story that comes with it. The true value of sports was never the end goals, but the bonds and moments we get from working to achieve them. It is the abrupt end that we really notice what is missing. It was never the games, the wins, the scoring, or the big plays. It was players sitting in the locker room having laughs with each other, it was coaches smiling at their players coming in every day, and parents sitting in the stands watching the moments that will become memories.
It is in this time of absence that we know what sports has brought us. Sports gives us purpose and it gives us friends who ultimately become family. It gives us moments that will forever be etched into our hearts. The unfortunate halt to what was so good, will eventually give way to our ultimate joy when it returns. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. How appreciative we will be when sports returns: not for the just the games, but for the enlightenment of the deep values we hold for sports itself.