One jersey at a time: the power of sports to bring people together

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SUPPORT THE TEAM: Whether it be an alma mater, a hometown favorite, or a random love, many teenagers share a sports fandom with their family and friends. How do sports bring you together?

Whether it’s watching the big game with your loved ones or making the winning touchdown for your high school team, sports are a part of most of our lives. We have teams that we root for and sports that we adore. Fans flock to stadiums in hope of seeing their favorite team win. But even when the team loses, the fans still come back for more. 

Sports are a beloved American pastime that has come to mean a lot to people. Their popularity as a leisure activity increased after the Civil War when people started to realize the importance of exercise to health. It began with only the wealthy being able to partake in them, but eventually, opportunities opened up for everyone. Athletes and spectators loved the game and now sports are a huge part of people’s lifestyles with events as big as the Olympics (which started in Ancient Greece) captivating fans. 

When asked why he thinks that sports are so important to people, junior Andrew Cherkauskas said, “It’s an escape from life, at least for me personally, and creates a community.”

There’s also the unity aspect of sports. When fans root for the same thing, they immediately have something in common that they’re able to bond over. People love watching sports together so it makes sense that they would be drawn to others that love the same sports and team. Going to games and seeing a sea of people all rooting for the same team as you makes you seem like you’re a part of a bigger thing and you feel connected to everyone. 

Sophomore Elena Rasmussen said, “It brings people who wouldn’t normally have anything in common together.”

Many things cause that, according to freshman Luella Sikorski.

[Sports] brings people who wouldn’t normally have anything in common together.”

— Elena Rasmussen, sophomore

“Rivalry, camaraderie, [and] similar nationwide interests,” Sikorski said,  all play a part in why sports have the power of bringing us together.  

Cherkauskas also said that “[Sports] gives us something to root for and talk and debate about.”

And fans definitely debate about it. When we root for different teams, it’s only natural for rivalry to arise. Throughout sports history, there have been famous sports rivalries that have enthralled fans. Yankees vs. Red Sox. Giants vs. Eagles. Army vs. Navy. All of these and more have kept fans watching. 

But even when these rivalries shine, camaraderie still forms. Yes, fans root for competing teams but their shared love for the game brings them together in the form of friendly competition and tradition. This causes sportsmanship to not only come from the players but also the fans. 

It’s not just fans that are brought together. Families all over the country have sports that they root for and they’ve become closer with the bonding experience of watching games. 

Freshman Anthony Akujobi shares his experience.

“Every time a game comes on we sit and watch it together!” Akujobi said. “It has basically become a tradition in our family.”

Senior Cheney Thompson said, “Going to games and rooting for Penn State at home has given our family something we all have in common and something to look forward to together!”

There are many reasons that people love sports. The energy and excitement of a game keep fans coming back for more.

Sikorski shared that her favorite thing about sports are “seeing [them] live and playing them.”

According to Education Week, 57.4% of high school students participate in sports. The most popular for boys is football while for girls it’s outdoor track and field and volleyball. Teammates come together and expand on teamwork, unity, persistence, and the ability to work hard; all traits that are useful in life. 

So sports aren’t only a source of exercise, they’re also something that brings us together. It unites us and gives us something in common. The excitement and joy that sports bring have become such a large part of so many lives and it’s positively affected so many people. It’s so much more than a jersey. 

Does your family root for any sports teams?

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