Sports have become something more than just a game I enjoy on my television when I have the free time. It has become my life with the lion’s share of my waking moments spent thinking about games past, present and future.
Eyeing a career in the sports world, I have managed to distance myself from almost every significant sporting moment in the past two or three years, forming objective opinions and doing my best to avoid bias. Save last February’s Super Bowl, sports have lost their ability to effect me on a truly emotional level.
However, this weekend sports moved me to do something I never thought I would do. With phone and scoreboard in hand, I found myself rooting for Brady Quinn and the Kansas City Chiefs to beat Cam Newton and the Panthers this past weekend following the shocking events of the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide.
I was not rooting for the Chiefs because Belcher was a troubled man who didn’t get the help he needed. I was not rooting for the Chiefs because it’s easy to rally around a team after something emotional happens.
I was rooting for the Chiefs because they needed the win more than the Panthers did. With just one win and one less teammate at day’s beginning, the Chiefs were a team without hope and one giant excuse to give up on the season.
I was rooting for the Chiefs because I wanted them to prove that Belcher’s act would not derail them from their ultimate goal of being the best football team they could be. I wanted them so badly to not let the events be an excuse to give up, to not try.
Led by the unlikliest of heroes, the Chiefs did exactly that. Quinn earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance and for a few hours, the world could try to forget about what had transpired and watch a good football game.
Belcher was a troubled man, who had a lot of demons and while we shouldn’t ignore what happened on Saturday, the events that took place on Sunday are much more important.
Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli will never be the same after going through what they went through, but for a few hours Arrowhead Stadium was united in one goal: moving forward. The Chiefs dedicated the game to victims of domestic abuse and will not put Belcher’s number or initials anywhere on their helmets, jerseys or field.
Sports has a way of easing pain and helping people forget the troubles in their lives. Whether it’s a football game, basketball game, a run around the block or shooting hoops in the park, sports has a calming effect that can block out even the most tragic events that face us on a daily basis.
Belcher’s family, the Chiefs and everyone else effected by the incident will have to face what happened on Saturday.
But they will always have Sunday, Brady Quinn and a win.