A Word to the Wise: Looking at the positive side of sports

By: Tom Rupp, Special to the Telegraph
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Last week I wrote about the dismal world of professional sports. To be fair, I wanted to spend a few minutes and also look at the positive world of sport. During the introduction of the old ABC Wide World of Sports television show the narrator spoke of “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” There’s something to be said for this aspect of sport — the vicarious sharing in victory and defeat that its followers experience. It is the continual playing out of the drama as “your” team, the one you choose to follow as a fan, wins or loses. In my opinion this drama plays out most purely on the high school level and younger. It used to be that college sports were also pure sport. But recently college sports have become little more than a minor league for the professional sports they represent. In fact, a recent Sports Illustrated article suggested that college athletes start being paid — legally. I had some hesitation writing last week about the sad state of sports knowing that our own sports reporter, Matt Long, would see my words. It may be a bias but I prefer to follow what Matt covers because of its local and purely amateur flavor. Thankfully he took the column with grace and fairness. Sports offer a venue that displays poetry, drama and interesting character studies. Each new game and new season provides countless examples of expectation, reward, release, defeat and victory. Each contest reveals what is in the heart of the participants. Sometimes you’re a hero and sometimes you’re a goat. There’s always another game, another season. And then we recently see games like the Broncos victory over the Steelers and the 49ers win over the Saints. There is little else in life in match the excitement of these last minute wins. Speaking of football, it reminds me of what someone once said about the game – “It is 22 people desperately in need of rest being yelled at by 70,000 people desperately in need of exercise.” Sports can be a good thing especially if you personally participate in them – such as walking, running, tennis, basketball and so on. So figure it out for yourself. Enjoy whatever sports you choose to, as a spectator or a participant, but remember that it is only a game and that “life is real, life is earnest.” You can reach Tom Rupp at