I always get the sense that non-sports fans have trouble understanding why we sports fans care so much. In fact, sometimes I even forget why we care so much. But occasionally, a sports moment is so special that you immediately remember what it is that we love so much about sports. I remember watching the end of the Detroit/New York American League Division Series game 4 (that’s baseball for any of you non-sports fans.) Now certainly everyone knows who New York’s American League team is (the Yankees), but you’ll certainly be excused if you don’t actually know that Detroit’s team is called the “Tigers.” That’s because for the past twenty years or so, the Tigers have meant comfort and relief. The Tigers have been so bad that they turned a once-proud baseball town into a baseball graveyard and a basketball city. That’s until 2006, when Jim Leyland (baseball’s grandfatherly tough nice guy, one of the most respected managers in the game) came to town, just as the Tigers’ 20 year rebuilding process was ready to come in fruition. Mix in a few nice free agent pickups, and voila! Playoffs, and the future AL (American League) champions.
But why on earth am I writing about the Detroit Tigers? Why is this even worth writing about? Because anyone who watched the post-game celebration of the Tigers actually going to the World Series couldn’t help but feel great for them (granted, I felt greater when the Cards spanked them in the World Series.) I’ve had about ten skin-tingling sports moments in my life (one of them most noted for the St. Louis Rams 23-16 win over the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV, and one that has came most recently: Adam Wainwright’s strikeout on Brandon Inge to end the 2006 World Series and wrap it up for my St. Louis Cardinals, 10 time champs) and today, sitting at my computer desk, thinking back in these recent moments — well, moments from October was the latest.
The pandemonium I felt as the Yankees were knocked out of the playoffs was great. Every year, I love watching these guys lose, it’s just an indescribable nostalgia that you love, and when it comes to the Yankees, they’re a team that I just love to hate. If the New York Yankees weren’t involved in the MLB, then baseball wouldn’t be as exciting as it is, there’s no question about that. They’re the nemesis of the whole MLB, and the rest of the league are the “good guys” wanting to prevent them from doing the dirty deed in the end. Every year, I cheer for any team in the American League to defeat the Yankees. In 2006, I cheered for the Tigers that series precisely because I dislike the Yankees, and I knew Detroit would enjoy it more, but even I was surprised by the celebration. It was great, I loved it, because two series later they lost to the eventual world champion, St. Louis Cardinals. *wink*
That is why we watch sports, for the moments like that. For the moments we enjoy. We root for our teams; we root hard. It’s the moment that catches our eyes, and we never forget. We grow up, have kids, tell our kids stories, our kids have kids, and we tell our grandkids stories about what we have experienced in moments. Sports bring people together. You, the reader that is currently reading this, and I have something in common (most likely), we both love sports and share something in common, and that brings us into one hobby. That might have sounded very odd, but it’s true. The fact remains, it’s the inevitable moments that force you to love sports, and it sucks you in like a vacuum cleaner. I spent the majority of my time writing this article on the Detroit Tigers, but you know what? They lost to us in the World Series, so I have to pay them a little respect for taking the spankin’ as well as they handled it.