Sports give us singular moments unavailable elsewhere

Oct. 7, 2013

Jonathan Toman
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I have always been struck by the power of sports. The ability of sports to touch us in places we didn’t even know we had.

Too often we look for the bad in people, for the uninspiring event created by the uninspired. But I believe sports have the power to change this. We need to focus on the good people and good events in sports, and even in the world.

The moments that sports create are without equal. Nowhere else can an event touch a school, a country or even the world in the way athletic competition can. The events that take place in sports, and the impact they carry, can happen nowhere else.

Take the story of Derek Redmond, an Olympic sprinter who took part in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. About halfway into the 400 meter semifinal, Redmond tore his hamstring. He slowed, and then stopped, his face in his hands as he knelt on the track. The other runners finished.

Instead of receiving assistance from track officials, Redmond got up and began to hobble his way toward the finish.

As he limped toward the finish, a man ran onto the track and half ran, half supported him the rest of the way until Redmond crossed the finish line.

That man was his father.

The examples of sports moments that pull at the heartstrings are endless.

Take the story of Landon Donovan in the 2010 World Cup. In a tied game against Algeria, needing to win to advance in the tournament and win their group, Donovan took center stage.

After an outlet throw from goalkeeper Tim Howard and a few passes, Donovan followed up a deflected shot off the Algerian goalkeeper and scored in stoppage time to send the U.S. through.

Or the story of Andy Murray, who this year became the first British man to win Wimbledon singles in 77 years.

Or the barrier-breaking story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American in Major League Baseball. His achievement helped bridge a gap that had stood since the founding of this great nation.

Only in sports can these moments happen. Only in sports can we get a certain kind of inspiration: the type that makes you want to cry but at the same time get up and take on the world.

These moments are out there, happening every day. We just need to look in the right places.