I recently began applying to graduate schools for a PhD program in sports psychology. While writing my personal statement, I was forced to think about what sports represent and mean to people, specifically myself. Trying to put "what sports mean to me" into writing led to a long, winding road trying to explain something that has always been inherent in me, but I have never even considered trying to define.
For some people, sports is an escape from the monotony of everyday life-- an escape from the world. For others, it represents past unfulfilled dreams. For still others, it is just something fun to do at night.
For me, it goes beyond that. To me, sports are one of the most primal, real things about life. They can bring out the best, and worst, in people. Sports transcend time. The achievements of a player, or team, live on long after the game is played. Sports are a connection between generations. They are a bridge that allows father and son to share something they otherwise may never have. They bring together entire cities under a singular purpose. They allow for people with nothing in common outside of sports to share an equal footing.
From the times of Jackie Robinson, sports have also been an engine for change. Often social reform takes place only after the same lines have been crossed in sports. If not for baseball, and Jackie Robinson specifically, evolving race relations may have taken even longer to improve.
So, I'm done rambling, and now I leave you with one decievingly difficult question: What do sports mean to you?