The USA loves sports. Athletic events provide an arena for all of our favorite things: underdogs, hardworking heroes, and teams working together to reach an ultimate success; winning. In a country where the most expensive TV commercials revolve around a football game and professional athletes make the president’s pay grade look laughable, regular support and even involvement in sports is expected, if not a given. Despite not personally knowing a single player on the volleyball court in Mem Gym on Saturday night, I felt inexplicably drawn to support the orange and blue as they battled back from an early lead taken by the enemies, Northwestern University. As a volleyball player myself, trips with school and travel teams were often encouraged by coaches hoping the grit and dedication of players at the next level would inspire us. We look up to these athletes as the epitome a hardworking, successful individual. And often, “great games” are categorized as come-from-behind victories or last second buzzer beaters. When the water boy or team manager suits up, their success is received with ovations. These stories and the pride they invoke, create a community that is almost unparalleled. In fact, at this very game I unintentionally and individually encountered two teammates, an athletic trainer, and a previous travel volleyball coach. I used snapchat to capture the event and accessed a geotag that catered specifically to the sports team I was supporting just to add an exclamation point to the proof on social media and now this blog post that, yes, I love our sports team too.
So, why do we love sports so much? Perhaps partially, cause everyone else does. We are groomed from a young age to love sports, from big leagues to college, high school and even the little tot with a soccer jersey past their knees. So much of sports culture, is our culture. And it was the same strand of patriotic pride that propelled me to happily spend two and a half hours of my Saturday night in a packed gym, with no AC, so I could watch strangers hit a ball back and forth over a net.