The Breakdown: Remembering the point
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
There haven’t been any members of my family – at least to my knowledge – that have ever died serving America in a war. That’s not to say no one has ever served in the military; they were just fortunate enough to make it home afterward.
So, growing up, Memorial Day always symbolized the beginning of summer. The school year was almost done, and that three-day weekend was exactly the right amount of time needed for any kid to remind themselves of why summer’s great and school – with no offense intended to my schoolteacher wife – isn’t.
Obviously, the holiday certainly means a lot more to many people than grilling out and maybe flying a flag in the front yard. And knowing a number of people currently serving in the Middle East has definitely changed my perspective over the years.
Memorial Day is a day to remember all those that have died during military service, which to date, sadly, is well more than a million people – people that certainly earned a heck of a lot more than a holiday.
Anyway, what does this have to do with sports?
Well, to be honest, nothing at all, but that’s exactly why I bring it up.
I’ll be the first to admit that I continually get caught up in sporting events to the point people around me get fairly annoyed. I yell at the TV, throw things and rant about how inept the coaches are – and how I would’ve done things differently, or rather, correctly.
(Random tangent: Pretending we know more than a professional-level coach or player – and telling everyone how we know more than them – has to be one of the greatest parts of being a sports fan. I mean, just because we weren’t actually talented enough or smart enough to be in their position doesn’t mean we can’t pretend we were.)
When I played sports, it was the same way: A bad game or a bad loss would put me in a bad mood for days; I couldn’t get over it. It never mattered that I was an under-6-foot quarterback with a noodle for an arm, if I threw a pick in a game I’d be angry until the next Friday.
What I’m saying is I take sports pretty seriously, in case you couldn’t tell from my choice in profession. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know where to draw a line between games and real life.
And that’s the point to bringing all of this up.
With Memorial Day being tomorrow, it’s a time when – even more so than usual – we can remember that what we’re watching, what we’re playing, what we’re cheering about is really nothing more than a game.
The analogies of sports to war are not only an uncreative hyperbole for anyone who lacks perspective but one of my least favorite references anyone could make toward sports.
While the Phoenix Suns may have been playing to keep their title hopes alive Saturday night, they were in no way “fighting for their lives,” as so many TV analysts would say.
When a pro athlete loses in the playoffs, they go home to their piles of money. Sure, they may pout for a bit, maybe even act mad while stopping in every night club on the way home, but they still go home just fine.
Needless to say, the same doesn’t go for those in the military.
That’s why holidays like Memorial Day are so important. They may not hit us directly if we don’t have someone close to us to honor this weekend, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the sacrifice that so many people have made.
And that’s why my perspective over the years has changed. I don’t think about how great it is to get out of a classroom, I simply remember why I ‘m proud, why I’m grateful to be doing anything at all.
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