Tonight, the most important — and divisive — election of our lives is finally coming to close.
Politics has dominated conversation and the news for months, and yet, sports have never been a more important part of my life.
With each passing day, the campaigns have become more negative, the tone of the election has become more dire and I’ve learned that many people have some questionable opinions which I wish I hadn’t been exposed to.
As a result, during this cycle I have drifted away from the front-page headlines and the updated congressional polls. Instead, I have dived deeper into the MLB pennant races, NFL divisional battles, and the College Football Playoff rankings.
It’s easy to block out the rhetoric and partisanship while watching Steph Curry drain deep threes and Clayton Kershaw bury filthy curveballs.
It’s reassuring to watch pundits debate hot topics on television and then see them laugh and hug afterwards because they were only arguing over who should start Game 7 and not who should be the Commander-in-Chief.
But, sports don’t just distract. They also heal. They build community. They forge trust, and they bring people together who have nothing else in common.
Obviously, the result this Tuesday is more important than any touchdown drive or ninth-inning home run. Our country’s future is at stake. But, while this election keeps telling us how we are all so fundamentally different, sports can remind us just how similar we actually are.
Last week, this was never more evident. Chicago and Cleveland were gearing up for the most anticipated game in World Series history and for a few hours, nothing else mattered.
I had plans to watch with friends, and as the night wore on the crowd of viewers grew. No one was a huge fan of either team, some weren’t even baseball fans at all, but everyone was locked in on the game. We erupted when Rajai Davis hit his game-tying home run in the bottom of the eighth inning, and we collectively held our breaths as we watched the Cubs (the Cubs!?!) take back the lead and win their first championship in 108 years.
Two days later, in Chicago, the celebration became the seventh-largest gathering in human history. Five million people skipped school and called out from work to watch the Cubs parade through the city. Because of sports, five million people found common ground.
Today, go vote. Be passionate about your beliefs and fight for the vision you have for America. But when it’s all over, and the wounds from the election begin to heal, sit down with friends, drink a beer, watch a game and enjoy the common ground that you share over your love for sports.
So long as something as insignificant as a baseball game can bring millions of strangers together, I will have faith that our shared belief in unalienable rights will eventually unite our entire nation.
That’s why I need sports.
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.