A bit of a departure here, folks.

I’ve been a sports fan for as long as I’ve been able to pick up a ball. I’ve played a bunch of them over the years, from baseball and soccer to tennis, hockey, golf, volleyball, and a few more. Once I left college and teams were harder to find, I turned to solo sports: mountain biking, kayaking, disc golf. I may not be in the perfect physical shape I’d like to be in, but I look alright, and a lot of that is down to that legacy of being active.

And being a sports fan is great. It’s great because of both the highs and lows, to say nothing of the indifference of a .500 season. And it’s because all of this happens with, essentially, no risk. It’s not the end of the world if your team doesn’t win, if that shot doesn’t fall, if when they should have bloody well handed the ball off instead of throwing it and it gets intercepted on the goal line of the Super Bowl. Not that I’m being specific or anything…

Sports are the distillation of the human experience, with all of the emotion that goes along with it, but without the danger of fear and death and the like. Without the risk. It isn’t the faux pageantry of a political convention or the staged excitement of something like a halftime show or a reality television program. It’s simply what happens. It’s when you’re in the right place at the right time to see something impossible. And when you know you’re sitting in one of the human shrines that has hosted every conceivable emotion.

I say that because sports reflects who we are. Tim Brown has written a story about Rich Donnelly, who lost his daughter to a brain tumour at the age of 18. This was some time ago, mind you, but the story is something you simply have to read.

You have to. If you never read a post on this blog again, please read the link to the Yahoo! Sports story. And, as a warning, it gets a bit dusty in the air when you’re reading it.

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