I am a sports fan. Sure there are games too complicated even for me to devote the time to understanding (cricket? huh?), but for the most part, I love the very simple metaphor of the heroic journey every athlete and team member takes every time they put on their uniform, cross it to the center, stick the landing, return the volley, get barreled, sack the QB, cross the finish first, throw a strike, slam the dunk, dive no splash, deliver the knockout, dig that spike, dig down deeper when defeated and practice, practice, practice, practice and most of all believe. Sport at its most basic forces a situation where the rules are set, the clocks are ticking, skill counts and winning is at stake. These are of course symbolic wins and losses; it is not meant to be a life or death situation, but instead mimic the intensity of one by competition with others and the self. (I cannot get lost in the topic of business or celebrity of sports today. Go read a story about the entire NBA if you want that.)
The most compelling sports stories are those in which the athlete or team has overcome the incredible odds against them to achieve a personal best or an outright win. The current story I am inspired by is Kathy Martin, a 60 year old masters runner, competing in track and field events and holding world records for her age bracket that are completely astonishing. For a convalescing runner like me, there could not be a more delightful true athlete story than Kathy Martin’s.
Read it. Then tell me sports don’t have heart.
(PS, if you don’t have a subscription to the NYTimes and you have used up your free articles on this the 3rd day of the month, email me. I might still have a discount coupon code for you. Get the Times people. It’s good for your brain.)