Sports may just be a game, a pastime, but it's more than that, too. It's a way to bring people together and unite them over a common cause. Sometimes, when sports collide with the 'real world', amazing things can happen, and I discovered this first hand a few months ago.
It started with the Red Wings being eliminated from the playoffs. It's never easy to watch your favorite team head into the locker room for the final time in a season, and I kept thinking about how different people react differently to the nearly inevitable elimination which every team but one deals with every year. I thought about it so much I decided to write a FanPost about it so I could share my thoughts with my fellow sports fans. One morning I sat down and spent about a half an hour typing up the article and posting it on the blogs I frequent, Winging It In Motown, Bless You Boys, Pride of Detroit, and Detroit Bad Boys. I told about how I felt when the season ended and asked readers how it affected them and how they dealt with it. I mostly forgot about the article, other than checking in now and then to answer any questions from readers, until a little while after when I got two e-mails which would (although it sounds melodramatic) change my life.
The first e-mail was from a reader who had felt such a connection with my writing that he took the time to get in touch with me, the second e-mail was from the editor-in-chief of an online publication which covered sports among other topics. He had enjoyed my FanPost so much he wanted me to come write at his website. I couldn't believe that two people had got in touch with me because of my article, that something which was basically just my random thoughts could connect with people so much. I responded to both e-mails, to thank my reader for enjoying my article and to accept the job at the website.
For the next two and a half months I wrote an article every week for the website. It was amazing to be able to express my thoughts and opinions about sports to the entire world. I have no idea how many people read my articles but I hope that they enjoyed the experience as much as I enjoyed writing them. It wasn't technically a 'paying' job but I quickly realized I had found a job which I loved, something I could possibly make a career out of. Unfortunately, the website had to close down this week. After I got the news I was surprised to realize how much I would miss being able to write there. I love sports and I genuinely enjoy writing, but my favorite part of being a sports writer is the way it allows me to express my feelings and opinions to other people who are as passionate about sports as I am. I wrote about everything from the heart-breaking balk-off that the Tigers experienced in Cleveland to an article detailing the perfect NFL offense (which surprisingly included Dominic Raiola as a back-up center). I learned a lot which I didn't know and got to talk about some stuff which I already knew and the entire experience was a blast. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to give up writing (which is why I'm boring all of you readers with this post) and I don't think I want to even if I could.
That job offer changed my life, but it still wasn't the event which changed my life the most. A few days after I responded to the guy who had read my article I heard from him again. I realized that he loved the Detroit teams as much a I do. We e-mailed about the Pistons coaching search, the NFL draft, heartbreaking Tigers losses and exhilarating wins, basically every sports topic imaginable and eventually about topics completely unrelated to sports too. The more we talked the more I started to like him and eventually, without even realizing it, I fell in love with him. It was sports that brought us together but we have so much more in common than sports, too. I can't imagine what my life would be like without him, any more than I can imagine a life without Tigers baseball or watching the Lions every Sunday.
Meeting my significant other and starting to write were the best things that have ever happened to me and I have my love of sports to thank for all of it. When I think of my decision to post that article I realize that I had no idea how much it would change the course of my life. I don't know what the future holds for me but I know that I will always be grateful to sports (and most especially Detroit sports) for making my world better. My story is proof that the teams we love enrich our lives in so many more ways than most people realize (even when those teams are being horribly eliminated from the playoffs) and shows how sports are so much more than a superficial game. Sports at their best are a way to connect us within stadiums and ballparks and arenas, watching games in bars or at home on our TV's. They unite us across cities, states, and even countries. They give us something to talk about when we don't know what else to say, brighten our lives when we're feeling down, and introduce us to new people. Sports may just be a game, but they are so much more than that, too.
So, how have sports changed your life? Have they made it better or worse?
Questions and comments are always welcome (and if you're looking for an unemployed sports writer who will work for free you know where to find her!). Thank you for taking the time to read my article.
Let's go Red Wings, Tigers, Lions, and Pistons!!