The Sunday Magazine: Why Sports Matter to Me

I love watching sports. I’ve been fortunate to attend many of the biggest sporting events there are in person. I am now happy to sit with remote in hand flipping between different games. Joni Mitchell warned in “Big Yellow Taxi” that absence makes you wish for what you’ve lost. Right now because of the coronavirus epidemic we have all lost sports. I am finding it to be a bigger void than I expected.

One of the biggest is as a supporter of my favorite teams. The colleges I attended. The cities I’ve lived in. A special sharing with my father. They have made me a fan of teams in every sport. There is the optimism as you head into a new year. Then there is the reality of whether my teams are up to the task of being the best. Or not the best. Sometimes the worst. Throughout it all is the emotion of rooting for a team of players you want to do their best.

Then there are the rivalries. Even though most of my teams are on the downside these days. As an Arsenal Football Club supporter I admire the run the current Liverpool team is on. I really hope for them and their fans they get to finish what has been one of the all-time greatest seasons. Even though I was happy to see them lose a game so they couldn’t match the undefeated Arsenal season of 2003-04. They might be champions, but they won’t be Invincible.

Spring training for my St. Louis Cardinals was showing some promise just as it all shut down. I am hoping there will be baseball this year.

This weekend should have been the opening games of this year’s March Madness. I have no brackets to be busted. No buzzer beaters to say “OMG!” about.

Sports defined the weekend for me, I realize. It was a way I would unwind watching athletes do their things. Now that it has gone, I understand why it matters to me. I know it will make me love it all the more when it eventually returns.

Mark Behnke

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