Did you see that game?

By Jeremy Gulley

I have tried hard over the years to try and get my youngest son to watch sports. I have not pushed him to play sports or like sports, but I have tried to get him to appreciate sports.

Mostly, he isn’t interested. He is the kid with the big imagination that doesn’t have time for organized games that other people take so seriously. While we watch sports on television, he is usually upstairs making up his own games or reading a book or doing something that only he really understands.

Last weekend, however, I asked him to watch the 49ers play the Saints in the playoffs and he looked straight at me and asked: “Why?”

Why? That’s a good question, isn’t it? Why do we watch sports? Why is it important to me to watch games played by people I don’t know, will never know, and which have absolutely zero tangible relevance to my life?

What I told him is that sports give us a shared cultural experience that makes each person connected to single event that can be shared both during and after the event. When we watch a game we become part of a societal discourse that identifies us with a group of people. It gives us a common dialogue that can be shared, a common experience that can be discussed and evaluated, and provides a way to examine human behavior in all its bad and good – sportsmanship, teamwork, individual achievement, perseverance, focus, frustration, glory and defeat.

I told him that by watching this one game on television, a whole different set of experiences will open up for him when he goes to church or school and talks to people who also watched the game.

“Just try it,” I suggested. And he did.

Perhaps lucky for me the game was exciting and came down to the last possession. The 49ers won on a touchdown pass with about 9 seconds left to send the Saints home. We were all yelling at the television, screaming, and watching in awe as both teams pushed the game right to the last second. We watched the 49ers’ Veron Davis, who caught the pass for the last touchdown, cry in his coach’s embrace afterward. We watched the Saints stare in disbelief and try to gracefully accept defeat.

We watched it all together, along with the millions of other people watching at the same time.

On Sunday at church, my son walked right up to our friend Tony and said, loudly, “hey, did you see that 49ers game yesterday. It was amazing!”

Long live sport.


Short URL: http://osawatominews.com/?p=1631

Posted by admin on Mar 21 2012. Filed under Jeremy Gulley, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply