By Duke Staff
You might have watched the Super Bowl for the game, the commercials, the halftime performance or maybe even simply for the lavish amounts of pizza and buffalo chicken dip set out on the table in front of you.
Quite honestly, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you watched it.
For one night people from every state, every city and every walk of life sat down in front of their televisions to watch the spectacle that is the Super Bowl.
That is the power of sports.
Sports matter. Sports unite a country drowning in division. Sports give kids an escape from a troubled youth. Athletes give a voice to those who might not otherwise be heard. Sports teach lessons and instill values that generate future success. Sports bring people together instead of tearing them apart. Sports create commonalities between people who might not otherwise converse.
Just listen to the words of Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Mandela — a man who united the once racially-divided country of South Africa through the power of sport.
“Sport has the power to change the world,” Mandela said. “It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”
Now more than ever, we the people of the United States of America need sports. It might be the only hope for a country seemingly in a state of constant unrest.
But maybe sports matter because they don’t matter. Sure us sports fans, we root for different teams. We love our team and hate yours. We have an undying passion and love for the game. But at the end of the day, did that game really directly matter to us? No, but the time we spent watching it, together, surely did. In glory and in defeat the game still unites us.
That is what America should be all about. A country grounded in unity, inclusion and love where every person has a voice and a chance to live out their own American dream. Every person regardless of race, religion, economic status or political preference should get to experience that euphoria of victory.
Let’s take a lesson away from the game. When the odds are stacked completely against us, let’s rally back, together, in the most improbable of ways, so we too can be champions as individuals and as one great nation.
If you don’t think sports matter, think again.