Some people just see sports as adults playing a kids game. Most see those involved in sports as overpaid. For others, watching or playing sports is a hobby that’s something to do to hang out with their friends on the weekend or at night after work.
I like to look at sports as a metaphor for life. All the situations that happen on the field of play can be translated to life and vice versa.
Look at the Notre Dame vs. Michigan game this past weekend. The Irish dominate the first three quarters before Michigan comes back and wins the game by outscoring Notre Dame 28-7 in the fourth quarter, including two touchdowns in the final 1:20, to win 35-31.
This represents the ups and downs that not only a game can have, but life as well. Once you think you have things figured out, something unexpected can happen and change everything.
It also shows how one play in a game can make the difference between a win and a loss. Notre Dame is a 0-2 team that has lost its two games by a total of seven points. Are they a better team if they don’t let Michigan gain 80 yards in the final 30 seconds? Record wise and stats wise, yes. And in sports at that level, wins and losses are all that counts.
Just like one play can decide a game, one decision can change your life or how people look at you. Are you a worse person because you made one mistake or said something to someone that you wish you could take back?
To be considered among the all-time greats in your sport, a prerequisite is that you have to win a championship. Even if you get there, it is not enough. You have to win. Dan Marino would be considered a greater quarterback than he already is if he had won even one Super Bowl. In just his second season, Marino took Miami to the Super Bowl during the 1984 season, but lost to San Francisco and Joe Montana 38-16. Marino has Montana beat in all statistical categories, but nine times out of 10 people will say that Montana is better than Marino. If that ONE game is different, how different would these two players be persevered?
I think how we view others comes down to just a few moments over years of knowing a person. You can be best friends with someone, but one small comment or lapse of judgment can take away all the good will that you have built up over the years.
It is the same thing in sports with people like Bill Buckner or Scott Norwood or if you mention Gary Anderson to Vikings fans. One play in these guys’ careers define them.
Casual fans don’t view sports as life or death because the outcome of a game is never that important, even to the most die hard of fans. However, what happens during the game can be a life or death situation.
This past weekend, University of Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill had a seizure on the sidelines late on Saturday afternoon. It is not life threatening and it has happened to Kill twice before on the sidelines, but it also goes to show that the outcome of the game is not as important as you might think once something like this happens.
You may be having a bad day for whatever reason, but it is usually has to do with trivial things that don’t really matter all that much. Remember, it’s not like it is life or death.
By all accounts SDSU was embarrassed Saturday when they lost to Illinois 56-3. We have all been embarrassed before and maybe in front of a crowd of people, but the Jacks played in front of over 40,000 people at Illinois and thousands more watching on TV. If you dwell on that moment and don’t move past it, you are doomed. It is how you respond to these embarrassing moments that show what type of person you are. There is nothing SDSU can do to change the way they played, but they can try to make people forget that game by being successful in the future in situations that they can control.
Sports may not mean anything to you, but if you look past the game itself and take a deeper look, maybe you can see something more than adults playing a kids game.