In Good Company

My View From the Stands

I recently began working somewhere new. On our first day, the eight newest employees sat in silence inside of the orientation room, which I imagine is not uncommon. After the supervisor gave her presentation and said what was expected of us, we were left alone again. And again, the room was quiet.

The silence wasn’t broken until the older man next to me asked in a raspy voice if anyone knew the score of the game. I spoke up.

“10 to 6, Panthers up at the half,” I said. “Luck isn’t playing so well.” I could see he, like myself, was not happy about it.

This was the beginning of a conversation that traveled from Monday Night Football to Kobe Bryant’s deterioration, and led eight strangers out of the silence I thought would never end.

Sports break awkward silences. It is often a common ground and everybody has something to say. Even if an individual has a negative opinion about sports, it is a discussion.

The conversation inside of that orientation room would have had the same effect if the girl in front of me had chimed in to say that professional sports contribute to violence in the real world. This valid opinion would have frustrated most of the men, but as a result, we would have known each other even better.

Sports bring people together in a way that nothing else does.

If the city of Boston was physiological, Fenway would be the heart. And like most cities that have ownership of professional teams, the people who live there love nothing more than their teams.

The shared love transfers into high-fiving strangers when the Sox score, and belting “Sweet Caroline” in the middle of the 8th, along with everybody else at Fenway Park.

Red Sox fans carry out the “Sweet Caroline” tradition during the 2013 World Series.

At a baseball game, you are with 40 thousand of your closest friends.

This feeling is not exclusive to Red Sox fans or people who live in Boston, or even to baseball fans. It is a feeling that sports fans understand everywhere.

Any given team has their own traditions that turn individual fans into a fan base who stand together in support of that team. Whether it be the Saints’ “Who Dat” chant or hockey fans in Detroit throwing octopuses onto the ice during the playoffs.

It is something special to be tied to people you don’t know in a positive way.

From tailgating outside of the stadium, to screaming in joy as you and your family jump from the couch and onto your feet, being a fan gives you a community.

Credit: Steve Burdick

800,000 fans attended The Royals’ Championship Parade to congratulate the team and themselves on concluding the journey that began last season. It is tradition for champions to sit in cars and floats as they make their way through their home town and home fans, but this parade was more than that.

The turnout was nearly twice of Kansas City’s population. 800,000 people gathered in one place for the same reason

Through sports, people come together as a single community.