Sports gives insight to what makes us tick

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ah, fall is in the air … and that means one thing: The greatest sports season is almost here!

Now before you go thinking that this is a misplaced sports column that wandered its way onto the Opinion page, let me insist that it isn’t.

Well, I guess it kind of is.

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Fall is my favorite time of year for a lot of reasons but many involve a ball of some shape or size.

Sure, I love the cooler air. The turning of the leaves in the Tri-State is great. New TV programs would be entertaining if I actually had time to watch. The fall holidays are among my favorites.

But the best thing about fall is the sports, lots of sports.

I love high school football. I love college football. Shoot, I even love the NFL, even if all the rules do make it the No Fun League.

And it won’t be long until the NBA and college basketball tips off again.

Plus, hockey season is … nevermind, just kidding on that one.

Each sport — and the professional or amateur version of it — is unique and offers their own characteristics.

College sports are all about heart and character and hard work. All these things transcend sports and can translate into our everyday lives.

Pro sports are about dedication, skill and talent. Nothing is better that watching someone do what they do best. And that’s what professional sports is about. Are some of them pampered babies who feel entitled? Sure but others are amazing athletes who have a talent that is wonderous to watch.

And if these traits of the human condition weren’t enough to transcend the field, the individual stories should be.

The walk-on athlete that gives his all to the school he has always dreamed of playing for, beating out more talented and more touted players who simply don’t have the same heart.

The inner-city youth that uses sports as a support system, finding shelter from the gang violence and broken home life, and managing to build a better life.

The child prodigy who was told that he was the greatest from the moment he could walk, only to later squander his talent on drugs and poor choices, that then finds a way to fight back and reclaim his career.

Do these sound familiar? They should but I intentionally didn’t name names because, really, that part doesn’t matter.

You will find stories like this on every team, in every sport, at every level.

See, to me, sports isn’t as much about the color of the jersey as it is what beats beneath it.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at