Amelia Parreira is a journalism senior and Mustang News columnist.
For my sports first column of the year, I’m going to take a step back from my usual focus on professional sports and bring something more personal to the table. With that, I’d like to ask you one question: What are you passionate about and what has motivated you to stay so enthusiastic?
In my case, the answer to that question revolves around playing and watching sports. I bet you never would have guessed.
Whether I’m sprinting through an open field or on the couch cheering for my favorite team, I just can’t get enough of the adrenaline I feel when surrounded by the sports world.
However, I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have digressed to sports-related dialogue, only to find rolling eyes or blank stares of disgust or boredom on the other side of the conversation. Not to mention the sarcastic comments.
And that is why I chose to write this article — not to alter the beauty of life by changing everyone’s opinions to simply fit my own, but with a completely different purpose. Instead I wish to build understanding and acceptance to show the world (or at least this community) that sports are not a waste of time, money and energy.
When it comes to sports, it’s not all about what you sacrifice or what you put in — it’s about what you learn and get out of the experience.
Maybe not everybody has the same experiences but involvement in sports can have many positive effects on a person’s character. For me, I have normally been known as a shy, reserved individual, especially as a child. After I joined a local soccer league at the age of 7, I gradually branched out as communication with teammates became essential to my success in the sport. These activities also fostered teamwork and critical thinking skills I still use today.
Established relationships with others is one of the greatest parts of sports participation, as well as the relationship you build with yourself.
There’s nothing quite as uplifting as hearing that ball swish through the net and realizing that it was you who just made the winning basket. Or feeling the rush of an ecstatic crowd after scoring your very first grand slam and seeing forty smiles greet you as you return to the dugout. That one moment of self-confidence can change someone’s life forever.
Looking back on my gymnastics career, I still remember the first time I performed a perfect front handspring. Every doubt in my mind slipped away as my feet successfully reached the floor. Three months of trying to master that one skill had finally paid off, and I felt like I could do anything.
One of the most important things I find in sports participation is the sense of peace it brings. Not only does exercise lower blood pressure in general, but focusing your mind on a sporting activity can help you clear your mind of any stress or negativity. It reduces the effects of stress by decreasing muscle tension, and it improves the respiratory system.
Now comes the part that I’ve been most criticized for: my sports fandom.
I’m not going to lie. When I watch sports I transform from this calm, quiet girl that never talks into a loud, obnoxious creature that screams at the television for every unfair call. It’s no wonder people think I’m crazy for loving something that sparks such obsessive behavior.
But look past that and you’ll discover that much good comes out of sports fandom.
One of the best parts of a fan nation is the connections that form between fans. Every time I go to a baseball game I end up making friends with every person sitting near me. The best part is that it didn’t matter how many differences we had; all that mattered is that one thing we had in common with each other — the team. When you’re a sports fan amidst other sports fans, it’s hard to feel alone.
According to a Jan. 2015 Huffington Post article, life as a sports fan can actually enhance your social life, decrease feelings of loneliness and boost overall happiness. With all the excitement that occurs in a typical sports game, it is easy to become fully enthralled along with others. Even if your team doesn’t win, it’s hard to keep from feeling happiness for the team that did.
So next time you change the channel and land on ESPN, or get stuck in the middle of a heated conversation about the upcoming World Series, take the effort to open your eyes, your ears and your mind and go beyond what you perceive. See what’s really there. Chances are you’ll find something incredible.