Because love and sports

I love sports, and I love love.

I guess it makes sense, because the two things are wonderfully similar.

You don’t have to agree with me, and that’s ok, because I will still believe it, anyway. Love and sports are simply very much alike.

The teamwork. Relationships can’t be carried by one person. Teams can’t be carried by one person. (Make your Michael Jordan arguments all you want, but he needed the other guys in each of his championships. Just ask Steve Kerr.) You have to work together toward a common goal, and it’s going to be a really rough journey if you aren’t on the same page. One word: chemistry.

The passion. When you are on the field or court, you put your heart into everything you do. There is nothing you’re willing to let stop you in your quest for victory. Just look at the faces of Pete Sampras (that’s right, I’m going old school) and LeBron James when they’re in the heat of the battle. They dare you to mess with them. When you’re in love, you put your heart into everything you do. Nothing and no one can stand in your way. You dare anyone to mess with you. Just look at Jack in Titanic. He got them off that boat, and he didn’t even let bullies or frozen waters keep Rose from surviving.

give me football
Give me football

That moment of greatness. Every once in a while, someone gets the chance to be a big hero in the sports world. Maybe you get to step up to the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, and you knock it out of the park for the walk-off grand slam. Or maybe you hit the buzzer beater to win by one. Or you throw the hail mary pass that hits your receiver perfectly on the numbers for the touchdown. And the crowd goes wild. Every once in a while, someone gets the chance to do something bold in the name of love. Maybe you get to haul tail through the airport and make a dramatic scene so that your soulmate won’t board the plane and be gone from your life forever. Or maybe you declare your love for your Prince Charming in the middle of the street in the pouring down rain while wearing your best dress. Or you give up your entire day to help the man of your dreams who doesn’t even realize what you’re doing until you boldly tell him it’s because you love him (that was a really good episode of Party of Five).

The benchwarmers who never give up hope. You’re always going to have those people on the team who just won’t quit–the ones who show up early to every practice, put in extra hours of practice, never play a single minute of any game, yet still sit on the edges of their seats as if the coaches will surely call on them next. The hope is so pure and so beautiful. You’re always going to have those people who can never seem to find love, but they are always hopeful for that fairytale ending to happen one day. They know love exists, and they never stop believing. Some call them hopeless. They won’t agree, though. It’s pure, and it’s beautiful.

The celebration. When you win a championship–or maybe you’re a losing team who finally just wins a game–you rejoice. And you do so together. You dog pile in the middle of the court. You tackle the hero at home plate. You trip over your skates as you rush to the chaotic huddle on the ice. You join the fans as they somehow they manage to bring the goal post to the ground. You immediately run to embrace your coach or loved ones when you cross the finish line in first place. You rip of your shirt as all of your teammates storm the field to join you in glory (Brandi Chastain became a legend that day). You celebrate together. The same is true with love. You celebrate together, because, as Jack Johnson says, “It’s always better when we’re together.”

In sports, the main goal is usually to win. But it’s also a journey along the way. You grow in the person you are, because sports help individuals develop character and poise. In love, you’re trying to win but in a different way. And it’s certainly a journey. You grow in the person you are, because love will test your limits, help you develop patience and understanding, and teach you so much about life that you thought you already knew but really had no clue.

You won’t always win in sports, but you will learn to appreciate even the losses, for they help you strive toward success. You won’t always win in love, but you learn to appreciate the heartaches and pain, for they help you become the person you were meant to be and make you stronger. And there’s something about real, genuine love that will always be true. Allow me to quote Jack Johnson one more time: “Love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart.”

Love always wins.

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