Collectively, it seems the people of Earth (or at least Twitter) have come to an agreement that 2016 wasn’t our favorite year ever. It’s been a draining year for many people, for a multitude of reasons. Coming out of 2015 and off that World Series high, I was excited to see what was to come in the world of sports. As the Royals’ 2016 season came to an end, I found my interest in sports…dwindling.
Don’t get me wrong, I kept tabs on K-State football and the Chiefs enough to know who they were playing, and who won, but watching the games wasn’t my highest priority anymore. I found keeping up with sports more of a chore than a passion. I stopped reading sports blogs while on lunch break and even deleted the ESPN app because I was tired of being notified about drama between two athletes on a team I didn’t follow. A small part of this was due to new hobbies and adventures I was pursuing.
By the time Sunday night football rolled around, I was drained. Moving from Manhattan to Kansas City played another part in my disinterest. I don’t have the means to buy season tickets for KC teams and I no longer had the opportunity to attend any and all events at K-State. Often, I yearned for the camaraderie of being in one spot with 50,000 fans who felt just as strongly as I did. I missed the goosebumps I would get hearing the KSU chant or singing the alma mater.
The biggest reason why, however, was the consistent bombardment of a new sexual assault case, a new rape case, a fresh reminder that the sports world isn’t necessarily the friendliest to women. I won’t go on a rant about women’s place in sports, or the current state of college athletics and the NFL, but it’s hard to continue to support and spend money in a system which thinks of women as an afterthought.
So, I stepped back.
I followed the Chiefs games when I could–through twitter, the radio, but I wouldn’t rush home to watch the game. And I went to one K-State game. I struggled to think of what to write for Sprots Takes. How could I write about sports when I was barely following? I didn’t even watch the Cowboys on Thanksgiving (a sin when your Cowboys-loving extended family comes to town).
What brought me back to sports?
Chiefs vs Raiders.
The buildup to last Thursday was what I needed to reignite some of the passion I have for sports. Union Station lit up in red, Andy Reid’s absence letter, the talk of cold winter tailgates, and pure hatred of the Raiders; the realization that our city’s team is number one in the AFC West? Blood-pumping.
For three hours, I could just watch two teams who hated each other fight in a game that MATTERED. The atmosphere Kansas City brought, both at Arrowhead and around the metro caused me to forget about some of the realities that go on behind-the-scenes. It reminded me why I cared about sports in the first place–the emotions, the pride, and feeling connected with neighbors and co-workers while rooting for the same team.
So, I’m slowly coming back to the passion I’ve had longer than any other. I still have the same issues with athletics as I did before, but I’m ready to be vocal about them. I’m not going to let the rape apologists or the sexist remarks push me away from the love I have for sports. To the women who are feeling the same way–step away if you need to, but come back. We need all women, together, united, to prove sports are for us too.
Because they are.
*Extra points to those who get the reference in the title*
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