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When a Sports Fan Leaves
Sports and fandom are serious business. Many fans are born into their fandom. Others dive in and make it an important part of their life.
Sports provide a diversion from everyday life. They can also teach us a few things. It is easy to see the value of hard work and the need for collaboration. If you dig a little deeper, you will find that winning isn’t always everything and sportsmanship is always appropriate.
It would be great if sports really taught us how to lose gracefully. Some athletes can do this, yet most all fans struggle. We live in a world of expectations and instant gratification. If your team takes a loss, you blame someone. This is so unfortunate, for everyone experiences losses.
Team losses can upset our equilibrium for days, but there are obviously bigger losses to be experienced in life. Wouldn’t it be great if our fandom taught us how to deal with losing a job, a pet, or a parent? You may be thinking that there is simply no comparison. Maybe you’re right. Yet, learning how to cope when things don’t go our way is an invaluable asset.
My uncle Chet, a long-time Chicago Cubs fan, passed away recently. He lost a battle with cancer and is at peace now.
Chet was a man who seemed big, loud, and easily disinterested when I was a kid. I later found him to have a quick wit and a good heart. Chet loved his family.
The loss the family is now experiencing can’t be equated to losing a baseball game. However, the emotions can be similar with the game’s emotions being on smaller scale. As Cubs fans, Chet and the family experienced a lot of losses on the baseball field. Fortunately, they were able to celebrate a World Series Title together, too. I wish it weren’t against the Indians, but I was always happy for Chet and the family.
There are more important things in life than baseball and football games. We are constantly reminded of this fact. The hardships of life knock at our door all too frequently. Sports give us the escape we desire. They also give us something more. They give us a part of our identity. When I think about Uncle Chet, I remember him as a Cubs fan. Of course, he was more than that, but Cubs baseball was a part of him and that won’t ever change.
Neither our life nor our fandom can be eternal, yet our life as a fan can live forever through memories, stories, pictures and more.
Learning to take a loss in sports may never prepare us for the loss of a loved one. It can take years to absorb such a loss. However, sports can provide us with great memories of watching games and spending time together. This is where the true value of fandom can be found. Appreciate the now. Appreciate the game you’re watching and the people you’re watching it with.
Here’s to you, Uncle Chet. Rest easy.
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