Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

April 18, 2013

Sports traditionally a celebration of peace

It is with a sad heart and deep concern that I felt compelled enough to express my thoughts on the tragic events surrounding the Boston Marathon. The act of terrorism is extremely disconcerting to those who love sport for all of its traditions and what truly is at the heart of competition.

Every modern sport owes its origins to the ancient Olympic Games. The games were a time of peace. All competitors were allowed safe passage to the host city and countries at war would put aside their differences until the conclusion of competition. Warfare and death were instead replaced with sport where countries could assert their dominance on the field of play.

Modern sporting events offer the same atmosphere. They can bring people together who normally would not get together under a cloud of peace to either participate in a big city marathon or view a baseball game. Sporting events can also be a break from the cloud of grief that surrounds a world full of violence and warfare.

Look at the relief and elation following Mike Piazza’s game-winning home run for the Mets following the 9/11 attacks or the first Monday night football game in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

Sports are a safe haven, a peaceable venue where we can honor those who have already paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. Competition is the new battlefield where we can gain pride for victory or feel the agony of defeat much like our soldiers do today.

The Boston Marathon is at its roots part of a celebration of Patriot’s Day, when the battles of Lexington and Concord officially started the Revolutionary War. From the beginning of the day when the marathon starts in Hopkinton to the early start of the Red Sox game and the nightcap of either a Celtics or Bruins game, the city comes together to remember our past.

Unfortunately, we have failed in making sports more about us and have the tendency to turn them into an atmosphere of fan harassment, hatred of other teams or competitors and we do nothing to honor the ideal of sport which is to turn the military battlefield into a modern day battlefield. The terrorism in Boston only irks me more because to me sports are no place for violence as tradition of the Olympics has served.

Our modern society has only served to pervert the idea of sports of something more than what they truly are. We tend to elevate and make a mountain out of a molehill when it comes to athletes and sport. It is under this guise that a coward would believe that a sporting event serves as an appropriate platform to make some sort of statement.

I can only hope that in the future, we as citizens can sort out our grievances and differences with rhetoric instead of violence. And to the terrorists and perpetrators of violence, I have always felt we have a covenant that stated schools, places of worship, and sporting events were off-limits.

Let’s do honor to the victims of this tragedy and make sure we keep all acts of aggression and violence as far away from athletics as possible and continue the tradition of sport as a time to celebrate peace.

Jaron Hawkins

Frostburg

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