THE BEAUTY OF SPORTS

Ladies and Gentlemen, spring is upon us. Don’t tell some of our citizens who are still suffering from the snow and frigid weather, but the beauty and renewal of spring is here. And with spring comes sports of different kinds, March Madness,  with the onset of spring comes spring training in baseball and let’s not forget the NFL draft is around the corner .

I still read the Sports section of the newspaper first because as Earl Warren said it is the only place in the newspaper that you can read about man’s accomplishments.

I am tired of the madness around the world but I am ready for March Madness. Are you? Have your brackets ready! Kentucky is the choice of everyone to win it all this year, but although they seem unbeatable stranger things have happened. College basketball is fun to watch, young men from various colleges give it their all. Basketball has schools that unlike college football can surprise and win games that you would have never thought were possible. Upsets abound and with it, fans of sport and competition, love the emotional elevator ride of the glory of victory and despair of defeat.

Basketball is not hard to understand, you run up and down the court trying to toss the round ball into the hoop or basketball net. Don’t you just love the names of the offenses or mistakes that the players make, like traveling or palming the ball, charging or blocking and don’t forget hacking fouls. Fouls are fun because you can watch the faces of the players and coaches. When fouls occur, the coach of the offending player looks like he just lost his best friend. Some coaches chew towels, or pace up and down, a few sit expressionless or whisper to the person next to them. Basketball is a great drama with graceful players who are unbelievably gifted for being so tall.

My father’s side of the family comes from North Carolina so I am a big fan of the ACC, the Atlantic Coast Conference. Great basketball is played along Tobacco Road. The North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke University are traditionally very strong teams with legendary histories.

Baseball, the national pastime, is preparing to start another season. Spring training is a time when each team shares the hopes and dreams of winning a world series championship. Well, maybe not the Cubs, but their time will come. Hope springs eternal.

Who is your favorite team? I don’t care if baseball is slower and less physical than football, it is America’s sport. Nothing is more difficult in sport than facing a pitcher from 60 feet, six inches away ready to throw a baseball to a hitter. Here you have the pitcher with this round object throwing from 90 to 100 miles an hour to a batter with a rather thin object called a bat, and you expect the batter to hit the ball. Really! It is the only sport where if you hit the ball and get on base a third of the time you can expect to be in the Hall of Fame some day. And the baseball can come at you across a plate called home plate, that is rather small in size. The baseball does not necessarily come at you straight either and the pitcher changes the speed of the ball when he throws it to you with the intent of not having you hit it. Pitches have different names like curve balls, sliders, screwballs, fork balls and sinkers. It just isn’t fair! Your standing there waiting for a pitch that comes at you so fast, that it takes incredible hand and eye coordination to hit the ball.

Then there is football! Just when you thought football season was over, the draft is coming . No not the military draft the NFL, not for long if you don’t win, draft, where your team gets to try to improve by drafting new talent from the best players that college has to offer the pros. Pro football tries to make each team competitive by having the worst team draft first and the best team draft last to keep the teams competitive.

I am a football fan and I always look forward to see who my favorite team drafts or chooses from the available players. The draft is the ultimate in excitement for the young men who have wanted to be professional football players, in some cases their whole lives.

So at a time when the real world seems to be going more and more crazy sports is a great release. It is about competition and winning but it is just plain fun to have a favorite team to root for and forget your troubles while enjoying watching your team on television.

I will attempt to write more about sports from this point forward. I hope we can all take part in discussing your favorite team or sport. I have been a rabid sports fan since I was a small child. So buckle up sports fans, it is spring and the hope that even your team can win, springs eternal.

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