Sports can bring people together. It can mend relationships that have been broken or forgotten. It can simply create memories.
Connor is a friend of mine from the radio program at NAIT. I’ve developed a strong relationship with him over the course of a year. Playing Madden, being on the same softball team, we’ve built a stellar friendship and having sports in common has contributed to that. Not all relationships have such a typical happy story.
I spent 25 years of my life without a father. Last summer we started developing a relationship after I reached out to him. The biggest thing that we have in common is sports. A couple weeks ago he bought me a ticket to Vancouver to watch the international rugby tournament. I knew nothing about rugby. I’d never seen a game in my life. I watched and I listened. He loves this sport as much as I love basketball. It brought us closer. It was cool to see how passionate he was about this sport and to know we had so much in common.
My father recently told me a story of how he almost died. Two years ago he was put on a “death list” with an aortic valve that was so weak doctors gave him a year and told him to bring in people to say goodbye. I was not one of those people. Based on the relationship my mother and father had, he didn’t know for sure if I was his son until he saw me last summer – we look exactly alike. When he told me this, my stomach stirred. I would have never known who he was.
I almost lost someone who should be important in my life. The truth is, if he left it wouldn’t affect me as much as him being there my entire life. I couldn’t imagine this pain.
Jenna is another friend of mine from the Radio and TV program and she loves hockey and that love became synonymous with tragedy. Jenna and her father James bonded through sports her entire life. James passed away two years ago and was found over his hockey bag after playing.
“That is the way I think he would have wanted to go,” said Jenna, reminiscing.
Before his passing, Jenna’s father wanted to take his daughters to the women’s FIFA soccer tournament coming to Edmonton. James’ employer ended up buying the whole family tickets to watch the game because that’s what he’d want his daughters to do. “We taped our dad’s ticket to an empty chair and called it the last date with our dad,” she said.
Watching a sport could have led to heartbreak thinking of her father, but it didn’t. Instead, it reminds her of a passionate loved one. She carries on the love of sports through the memory of her father.
Relationships develop and end in so many different ways but we carry on these memories through our lifetime, which often can connect back to sports. It is important because it affects us in many ways we don’t even realize. Sports unifies and strengthens relationships. You can pinpoint a moment involving sports with a friend, family, love or heartache.
– Tre Lopushinsky