It is with a heavy heart that I write my final column as a member of Sconnie Sports Talk, an organization which gave a wide-eyed 20-year old a chance to cover the Wisconsin Badger Football team.
But before I get to thanking those who have helped along the way, I want to use this space to speak to the power of sports. During the trying times our country and the world find themselves in at the moment, that power cannot be overstated.
The power of sports is having the ability to forget about life for awhile. I know at the end of the day, no matter how great, how terrible or how sad of a day, I can sit down on the couch, crack a Miller Lite and watch the Brewers lose a series to the Cardinals…again. For some, the consistency of having something just always be there is representative of something they lack, but desire, in their own lives. Your angry bosses, an ex- or current significant other, family or friendship issues – they all come and go. But Bob Uecker’s voice is forever.
For me, if you couldn’t tell already, I find that in the Milwaukee Brewers. I live and die by every game, every series and every season.
Others find it in the likes of the NFL, NBA, or NHL. Some find reassurance that at the end of a long week at their local business that they can close up shop early on Friday and go watch a high school football game under the lights.
It is a comfort some lack in their everyday lives, a comfort some seek out, a comfort some become addicted to. This is the power of sports. Escapism, with sports being a vehicle of it, is powerful.
Too often though, people are quick to get upset when the chaos of the real world seeps into sports. But this too unveils a second, possibly greater, power of sports.
When the athletes that we use to escape the hectic world use the stage we give them to bring about positive change in the community around them, we need to listen. We trusted them to give us a chance to catch our breath at the end of a long week or day. We should trust them to have sound, intelligent and meaningful opinions of the world we are trying to escape.
Colin Kaepernick taking a knee to highlight the injustices littering America’s criminal justice system, LeBron James using his wealth and celebrity to highlight the importance of public education, South Africa’s 1995 rugby team representing “One team. One Nation,” and Jason Collins coming out as gay during his NBA career. These are all examples of this potential power. But these acts do not have the power they rightfully deserve if we as fans tune them out or get irritated by them.
Think of these acts as no different than a high school football player using his platform to come up with an extravagant Promposal (granted, the previous examples are of much more social importance). We don’t get mad at the starting quarterback using his platform to get the head cheerleader to go to prom with him, so we shouldn’t get mad at athletes trying to improve the world.
The world is so hectic, and sometimes terrible, that we end up craving the escape. The escape is the sport these very athletes are playing.
Thank you to Zach Rosen for taking a chance on me, Margaret Naczek for navigating my first year covering a team with me, Nick Osen for always being the best hype man and an inspiration to us all and Lucas Johnson for appreciating the value of a well-utilized .gif.
If you want to follow along still on Twitter to enjoy the trials and tribulations of Law School with me, feel free. Oh, and go Brewers.