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Lately, I’ve been thinking about sports, culture and how they bring people together. What started this thought process was actually not related to sports at all.
It seems that there are a lot of things that divide Americans and people in general. Whether it be politics, religion or any number of things.
To be honest, there have been sometimes when the political extremism or extreme ignorance gets so bad, part of me wishes I was in a different country.
While there are a lot of things that can pull a country apart, often sports is something that unites a people and brings them together. It’s a common ground, free from politics and religion.
Over the weekend there was an international rugby sevens tournament held in Las Vegas. Sevens rugby is a game of rugby played with seven players per side. Games are shortened to two seven minute halves, which allow tournaments to be played over a few days.
The USA isn’t a rugby powerhouse, despite the game gaining some popularity recently, and the team ended up losing two games but nearly was able to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament.
In the USA’s final game, they took on South American rival Argentina, and if they could win, they would make it into the next round of the tournament.
The Americans had a chance to win late in the game and with time expired were driving down the field. In the end, Argentina ended up taking the win, but as the game came down to the wire, I was on the edge of my seat, hoping that the Americans would find a way through the line to score.
This happens every time the USA plays in rugby (even though they’re terrible) or hockey or soccer. I find myself hoping they’ll come through and win.
During the soccer World Cup two years ago, I was on the edge of my seat throughout the USA’s game against Algeria. The USA needed to win to ensure that they would move on to the knockout stages, and towards the end, it looked like the game was heading for a draw.
But everything changed with a dramatic goal by Landon Donovan. He flew down the pitch, passed the ball to Clint Dempsey who had his shot blocked, but Donovan was there for the put back. It was one of the biggest goals in American soccer, and I was ecstatic.
It was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever witnessed. It meant so much, and it transcended all the problems and political differences. It brought people together. It meant something to sports fans across the country. Even those who aren’t big soccer fans probably know the play I’m talking about.
There’s a video on YouTube that shows fans’ reactions to Donovan’s goal across the country. It’s one of my favorite videos. I love seeing the excitement, passion and love of fans. If you haven’t seen it, look it up. It will send chills down your spine.
That’s one of the biggest reasons I love sports. It unites people. It gives people from totally different back grounds and belief systems common ground to stand on.