10 Reasons Sports Will Forever Be America's Greatest Pastime

by Reggie Wade

As I write this, my beloved New York Mets season has ended in World Series defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Royals.

I was a young fresh-faced boy of 14 last time my Amazins went to the Series.

Sadly that trip ended in defeat as well, and to add insult to injury, it came at the hands of their crosstown rival, the New York Yankees.

Now I sit here, a man of 29, which my Mets championship facial hair has given away.

Sports can be tough.

But despite it all, I'm still looking forward to next season.


I love sports, and here are the reasons why you should, too:

1. They make us feel good.

Isn't that what we want in life?

This may seem to be a strange concept to non-sports fans, but if you've ever enjoyed a song, movie or TV show, I believe we can get on the same wavelength.

Sports are ripe with interesting plot lines and stories.

There are people to root against and people to root for, like Jon Lester, the Red Sox pitcher who was diagnosed with lymphoma.

He underwent chemotherapy and came back to pitch the next season.

If you can't root for that, you'll root for nothing.

2. They unite us.

Now stay with me here.

I know you have thoughts of English soccer riots dancing in your head, but sports really can unite people.

As an African-American living in southern Brooklyn, I sometimes find myself walking through traditionally white neighborhoods, and the looks that come my way often are not welcoming.

That all changes if I'm wearing the regalia of the New York Mets or New York Giants.

Concerned looks turn into smiles and phrases like, "You think we're gonna win tonight?"or "The defense looks good this year."

At that moment, the only colors that matters are team colors.

See, what unites us is really greater than what divides us.

3. They make us forget about life for a while.

Not to divulge too much personal information, but life hasn't always been a bowl of cherries for me.

I think it's safe to assume the same is true for a lot of people.

Sports has been used by many as a way to forget about life's problems for a while.

It gives us a chance to think about something other than ourselves.

It's always good for your emotional health to take a break.

So, get caught up in a game and get out of your own head.

4. They make us feel like we're a part of something.

One of the best parts of sports is you can actually be a part of it.

How? It's called participation, like going to a game.

People who are fans of sports have such a unique opportunity that fans of other outlets can't get.

You can see an event live as it happens.

I love "Game of Thrones," but I can't go on set and see Jon Snow kill the White Walkers in person.

I can't go see Adam Levine record the newest Maroon 5 album, but I can see my favorite team open up a can of whoop-ass on another team.

And get this: I might even affect the outcome.

There have been many instances where fans have played a key role in a big game, like Steve Bartman (look him up unless you plan on rooting for the Cubs).

Or, check out the time Pittsburgh fans made then-Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto so flustered that he dropped the ball on the mound.

5. They give us something to do.

To be honest, sometimes my social calendar is not as full as I would like.

Unlike your favorite TV show, sports never go on break. There's always something on.

The three major sports pretty much have the calendar covered.

You have baseball from spring to fall, football from fall to spring-ish and basketball in-between.

So just pick a team to root for in each sport, and if you find yourself with no plans, at least you have something to watch.

6. They give us hope.

Hope is something we all have at one point or another.

As the saying goes, "Ya Gotta Believe!"

That may be a Mets saying, but it's a true saying.

In life, you sometimes just have to believe, and sports give us something to hope for.

Can your team win tonight? Can they beat their rivals? Can they win it all?

The answer to those questions is a resounding maybe.

The Chicago Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908 and haven't even been to a World Series since 1945.

A lot of that revolves around a curse and a goat. (Yes, a curse and a goat; look it up.)

Despite that, Cubs fans still go to Wrigley Fields in droves because this year might be their year.

Just like the lottery, you have to be in it to win it.

If your favorite team exists, they have a shot.

Isn't the same true in life?

7. They can make us laugh.

Sports are intense and rough, but they can also be hilarious. It is entertainment, after all.

Baseball star Jose Canseco once got hit in the head by a fly ball and had to go over the wall for a home run.

NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte once celebrated a touchdown by slamming his head against a padded wall, resulting in a game-ending jammed neck.

Forget Comedy Central. Sometimes, sports is the best comedy on TV.

8. They can get emotional.

Just like music can get emotional — well, maybe not as gut wrenching as Céline Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" — sports can bring a tear to your eye.

I personally cried more over baseball than women during my junior high school years.

Don't worry; I made up for it in high school and college.

Sometimes, fans cry during tough defeats, and hell, even the players cry.

Have you ever seen a Little League World Series game?

More tears are shed at the end of those things than funerals.

Even the adult players shed tears.

Just this year, Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores gained national attention after he cried on the field for two innings after hearing he would be traded from the team he has spent his entire career with.

Now that's emotions.

He ended up not being traded and won a game two nights later with a home run.

How great is that?

9. They're a metaphor for life.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone put it best in the opening scene of "BASEketball."

The line says, sports is "a metaphor for the nobility of man."

If that's not an apt description, I don't know what is.

When we watch sports, we watch ourselves.

When our team fails, it reminds us of our failures and shortcomings.

When our team overcomes adversity, we feel like we can overcome adversity.

When our team wins, we feel like we're winners.

As John Popper from Blues Traveler once put it,

It's that in each life some rain falls, but you also get some sun.

That sums up what sports do for us.

They represent more than just a game. Sports represent us.

10. They're fun.

The most obvious reason sometimes must be left for last.

Why do we love sports? Because they're fun.

Who doesn't like seeing grown men and women fly through the air, run, swim and jump like something out of a Marvel movie?

Don't even get me started on how national pride adds something to the dynamic during Olympic years.

Sports are amazing, and they can add joy and excitement to our lives.

We can even play ourselves.

I know most of us can't play in the NBA like LeBron James or in the NFL like Tom Brady, but we can play a game at the gym or start a flag football league with our friends.

Sports are fun and exciting, so besides watching them, get some friends together and play some.

Just don't take it too seriously; remember that it's only a game.