America’s love of sports is definitely prominent in our society, but where does this love for these sports come from? Are we born with it or is it the things we did when we were kids that make us love to play or admire those professional players?
Of course when our parents introduced us to the world of sports on TV we saw men and women having fun in front of the whole world. We as kids aspired to be like them, as kids aspire to be firefighters or astronauts. But wanting to be like them cannot come from just admiration; it has to come from the love of the game. Kids can be introduced to sports on a smaller scale by being taught how to play wiffle ball in the backyard, how to play basketball on a small plastic hoop, or by playing catch with a small football with dad. These childhood games introduce the sports to kids and give them that initial feel for the game and spark their interest in wanting to play baseball, basketball, etc.
Whether these backyard-sport kid athletes go on to be the captains of their varsity teams, professional athletes, or just sports enthusiasts, those sports will always bring a wave of nostalgia over them and remind them of their time growing up.
Out of all the sports I have played and watched, I hold a special place in my heart for the game of baseball. Being all grown up I began to wonder where this fascination first surfaced. This past weekend I was reminded by an old friend who I used to play wiffle ball in my backyard with when I was three years old. Being older than me, he remembered some more details than I could, especially the part where I had so much fun with him and my brother on our old street in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Although I moved from there to a neighboring town, the game of wiffle ball still followed me. Playing with my brother and his friends and the other kids on my new street became a summer tradition complete with bases marked by trees and a beach chair marked as home plate.
Wiffle ball inspired my passion for tee-ball which then progressed into softball, but when all of that faded, wiffle ball remained and the summer tradition still stands. From the streets of South Hadley, Massachusetts to the beaches of Cape Cod, the one sport that started it all can still be played. With every swing of the weightless yellow bat I can remember how far I used to think the homerun over the old fence in my backyard was. I remember when I was finally able to keep up with the boys by getting those clutch hits into the bushes in the front yard.
Many people wonder why people place such sentimental value on sports and why sports fans get so invested in a game they were never able to play. Sometimes sports can bring you back to a time when life was not so hard and when becoming that professional athlete did not seem so out of reach.