Why We Do It

I use the term “we” loosely. As much as I hate to admit, I’m no longer an athlete. Unless throwing a dog toy in a game of fetch qualifies as a professional sport these days.

That being said, I do still have the mentality of an athlete when I watch my favorite teams play. So I can understand what’s going through most of their heads, just on a much smaller scale.

And this blog is therefore dedicated to the people that can’t understand. The people who never cared for sports. The ones who don’t realize what winning a championship actually means.

So why do we do it? Why do athletes dedicate days and months and years to becoming the most physically fit, knowledgeable, intimidating players in their respective sports, just for the chance to hold a shiny trophy amid a sea of confetti?

I wish I could tell you it was simply the desire to be the best. To conquer all, and stand on top as a member of the best team at (insert sport here) in the world. But there’s much more to it.

At every level of sport, your body and mind go through amazing transformations as you exhaust them all day, only to be put to rest at night and yanked awake in the morning for the same grueling routine.

And imagine being Ernie Banks. Or Charles Barkley. Barry Sanders. Guys who did it at the highest level, yet never had that ultimate glory of victory. Was it a lifetime of preparation and practice wasted?

Not even a little bit. While never winning the big one would surely be bittersweet, athletes thirst for the competition. They compete because they love playing their sport.

Being an athlete is essentially the same as being a singer, actor, writer, lawyer, executive – you strive to be great every day, oftentimes in competition with others. Monetary reward is fantastic, but in the end, in typical heartwarming fashion, everyone competes for the thrill and the self-fulfillment of a job well done.

Nothing exemplifies the way athletes feel about that pursuit of victory better than this slow-motion screen shot of LeBron James hugging the NBA Finals trophy for the first time. Finally. I don’t think anything will ever portray the feeling better.

For people dismissing LeBron and that “just one championship” don’t understand how much is put into winning that shiny golden ball. Everything described above, plus pitting himself against the best athletes in the world both mentally and physically, on the largest stage imaginable…and winning?

That is the epitome of victory, and it’s exactly why we play sports.

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