Why I love sports

The Southerner

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BY JOE LAVINE

I was cooking tortellini the first time I actually racked my brain for the reasons as to why I love sports. Now, cooking frozen all natural Celantano cheese tortellini is a delicate process, and I take it very seriously. If the pasta isn’t strained quickly, it starts to stick together. If the butter is not placed in the pot immediately after the pasta is dumped into the strainer, it will take longer to melt. And after the butter is mixed with the pasta, you can’t forget to sprinkle on the shredded Parmesan and the basil.

But as my mind started shuffling through sports memories, my column began to kindle, and my Celantano cooled down. Before I knew it, the notes app in my iPod contained 26 furiously typed (and frequently auto-corrected) reasons. The tasty pockets of cheese clumped together in the strainer, and the Earth Balance natural buttery spread melted ever so slowly. If I had been willing to completely ruin my lunch, my list would have far surpassed 26 reasons, and as I continue to play sports, my final list of 39 will be as shallow as the tub of butter.

The reasons below mean a lot to me, and I hope you will be able to identify with some, whether you’re an athlete, an aspiring scientist or my dad. So, without further ado, these are the reasons #whyIlovesports.

I love sports because of the sweet sound of a swoosh.

I love sports because after a long practice, water tastes like heaven.

I love sports because I love to win.

I love sports because it’s not about what you can say. It’s about what you can do.

I love sports because it’s acceptable to eat a ton of wings while you watch them.

I love sports because I can push my body to its physical limits.

I love sports because Magic Johnson smiled a lot, and keeps on smiling.

I love sports because of all the different people I’ve met in pickup games that I would have never met otherwise.

I love sports because Chris Bosh looks so funny sometimes.

I love sports because we Falcons fans sure know how to celebrate a big win.

I love sports because they bring my friends together.

I love sports because Hank Aaron has class, and he remains the true homerun king.

I love sports because Coach Millen is a great guy to talk to.

I love sports because Reggie Miller can score eight points in 9 seconds, and because Spike Lee is a very animated fan.

I love sports because when I mess up, it’s only going to make me work harder to make you mess up.

I love sports because of how athletes show what they’re made of after having a bad game. After getting beat for the winning touchdown against Alabama in the SEC championship game, Grady’s own Damian Swann responded with two interceptions in Georgia’s 45-31 win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.

I love sports because Boise State ran a hook and lateral and a Statue of Liberty play in the same game, and because running back Ian Johnson’s proposal was successful.

I love sports because a football is thrown in a beautiful spiral, a basketball is dribbled between the legs or behind the back, a baseball splits, sinks or curves, a soccer ball bends, a tennis ball slices and a Frisbee floats long enough for me to run the length of the field to catch it.

I love sports because new ones can develop, with new attitudes of play. Ultimate is known for its strong spirit of sportsmanship and respect, which is certainly necessary when the players are the ones calling the fouls.

I love sports because there are trainers like Peter Dreisbach who use science to make my body able to run faster, jump higher and cut faster.

I love sports because minutes after I got a concussion, I could laugh with teammates on the sideline about not knowing what month it is, but afterwards my brain can still recall laughing with them on the sideline.

I love sports because of how severely Roberto Carlos’ free kick in 1997 bamboozled Fabien Barthez, and because of Higuita’s extremely unnecessary but extraordinarily athletic heroics.

I love sports because you can play them outside, and if it’s freezing, you’ll warm up.

I love sports because it’s more fun going fast than going slow, and it’s more fun being high in the air than on the ground.

I love sports because of Usain Bolt’s celebrations, before and after he crosses the finish line.

I love sports because a no-name D-Leaguer named Lin can inexplicably dominate his sport for two weeks and capture the attention of the world.

I love sports because Marshawn Lynch showed the Saints who’s boss, and because Jacquizz Rodgers showed the Seahawks who’s boss.

I love sports because of the George Mason’s and the VCU’s, and because Butler can make it to the national championship. Twice.

I love sports because, as Kevin Garnett knows as well as anyone, “Anything is posssssibbbllllleeee!

I love sports because the king of the world floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.

I love sports because I can look back at a bloody shirt and say, “Damn, I played hard.”

I love sports because joning contests on the bus and in the locker room quickly transition to brotherhood in the huddle.

I love sports because of Coach Thomas, Coach Brown, Coach Weeden, Coach Hooley, Dylan Tunnell, Ms. Mercer and Ms. Taylor, but especially because of Coach Slade.

I love sports because if anyone’s going to win not four, not five, not six, not seven, it’s Lebron, and if anyone’s going to stop him, it’s Kevin Durant.

I love sports because miracles happen, whether they’re on ice, grass, wood or artificial turf.

I love sports because Michael Jordan was once Mike Jordan, a 5-foot-10 sophomore who was cut from his high school varsity basketball team.

I love sports because after the game in which I scored the only four points of my high school varsity basketball career, my teammates and coaches clapped it up for me in the locker room.

I love sports because once you get out on the field or court, you can leave everything behind you and just play.

I love sports because they give me something to write about.

Why do you love sports? Let us know on the Southerner Facebook page, tweet it with #whyIlovesports, or post a comment to our website.

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