For my very first blog post, I think it is appropriate I write about my love for sports. I love sports! Sometimes I wish I did not. Sometimes I wish a team did not matter to me so much, or I did not care about how they performed. But unfortunately, I just do. And you are going to be left reading my ramblings every week like a rejected lover.
Seeing as I am a psychology major, bear with me while I briefly go on a nerdy trip. In psychology, there is a theory that states that humans tend to remember traumatic and emotional events more vividly than other events. For instance, those of us who are old enough will remember exactly where we were and how we heard about the tragic events of 9/11 or the attacks on Mumbai on 26/11. Similarly, even though it was nine years ago, I still remember exactly when and where I was when I heard about my grandfather’s death. How is any of this relevant to sports? Well, to me sports, especially games involving my favorite teams, are just as emotional and stressful of a ride. I can remember exactly where I was the day Arsenal won the league and cup double in 2002, as well as when their “Invincibles” team won the 2004 league title without losing a single game. Painfully, I also vividly remember the 2006 champions league final loss to Barcelona, although I really wish I did not! I remember a time when during game day, the result of the Arsenal game could determine my entire day. This proved to be troublesome especially when I moved to the United States, because games over there were in the morning! A bad Arsenal result meant I was moody, irritable, angry and lacked productivity. That is how much Arsenal and sports mean to me. Thankfully, I have matured from that time!
My enjoyment of sports is not limited to my favorite teams. I have yet to come across a sport I have not enjoyed in some capacity. And I think this is because I equate sports to art. The reason we love and appreciate live acts such as theater and music, or the feats of the performers of Cirque Du Soleil, or the art of Van Gogh and Claude Monet, is because their work is so spectacular that we could never imagine doing it ourselves. We marvel at their creativity and ability, and the willingness to constantly produce better. We are left staring in awe wondering ""HOW"? (Or more like, HOW THE HELL DID THEY DO THAT) Sport is similar. The athletic and physical feats performed by so many athletes is beyond comprehension. They seem super human to us, like Brett Lee bowling at 160 km/h, or Michael Phelps winning 8 gold medals in one Olympics, or Blake Griffin dunking over a car. And they do it all on the biggest of stages, with so much pressure and so many people watching. It is incomprehensible that Sachin Tendulkar can play so well in front of a billion people and yet appear to be so normal for twenty years! How does Michael Schumacher drive in circles for 70 laps, at such high speeds in the furnace that is a Formula 1 car, and never at once look jaded?
This is why I love sports, to see people so committed and dedicated to their profession, so gifted with talent, beat all the odds and succeed, and then bask in their glory. And this is why it was so special when Sachin finally won a world cup after six tries, or Dirk Nowitzki finally won a title after thirteen seasons or, more recently, Tiger Woods beat all the odds to win the Memorial. You could tell how much it meant to them, how much they cared, and how hard they worked. If you are a true sports fan, you were happy for them, irrespective of your loyalties.
Sport also throws up those special moments when an athlete leaves you wanting more. And I say special because their short comings makes you appreciate greatness more. Asafa Powell, one of the best 100m runners in the world, never did better than fifth place in the Olympics. While others thrived under the spotlight, he shrunk. We love Usain Bolt because he did it on the biggest of stages. Watching the recent champions league final between Chelsea and Munich, it was painfully obvious that Arjen Robben lacked mental strength. After missing a penalty in overtime, the last thing he wanted to do was take another during the shootout. Arch your mind back to the 2010 World Cup, and Asamoah Gyan, after missing a penalty in the last minutes of extra time against Uruguay in the quarter finals, stepped up and drilled a penalty in the shootout. One crumbled under the pressure, the other thrived. Think of any sport, and you will find an elite athlete who just cannot get it done. Tennis and Andy Murray. Golf and Colin Montgomerie. Basketball and Karl Malone. (Lebron James? To be continued....)
That is the magic of sports, watching regular humans perform super human feats.