What Do Sports Mean to You?

Thomas VazquezCorrespondent IMarch 27, 2009

29 Oct 2000:   Dallas Cowboys quarterback #8 Troy Aikman throws the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first quarter at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas.  Aikman left the game with reported back problems after thowing for 5 attempts and 4 completions for 43 yards. Mandatory Credit: Ronald Martinez/ALLSPORT

I sometimes find myself reliving moments. Moments that mean something to me that are often unlikely to mean anything to anyone else, and more often than not they revolve around sports.

I get together with my buddies on a weekly basis. We drink beers and talk sports.

“What do you think about the Reds this year?”

“How ‘bout ‘dem Cowboys?”

“Where are we watching the game this weekend?”

Like clockwork, at least once a week, the topic of “where were you when this happened” arises.

Do you remember when Michael Jordan hit the game winning shot against the Jazz in 1997? I do. I was in the family living room trying to stall my parents from taking me to a Bat Mitzvah.

How about when Nadal beat Federer for the Wimbledon title? I was in Seville, Spain with my brother sitting at a bar for the entire 9 hours.

I got a good one. Where were you when Tiger Woods won his first Masters? I was at a friend’s house and his father dragged us in from an intense game of one on one to witness something “special.”

Those are easy ones.

The ones that mean the most are so personal that almost no one will remember them. The best part about these memories is that they are the most special because a memory or admiration was born.  

For instance, I remember the first play I ever watched involving the Dallas Cowboys. Troy Aikman dropped back and sailed a pass out of the end zone to avoid being sacked.
I leaned over to my father and asked, “Why did he throw it out of bounds?”

Inexplicably, I became hooked.

I remember being sick while on a trip to Miami in 2005. My father left me in the hotel room and after flipping the channels for a few minutes settled on watching Roger Federer in the Sony Ericsson final against a kid with a sleeveless shirt and 3/4 length shorts from Spain.

A fan was born.

These memories becomes staples in ones dialogue. Almost like “old war stories.” Conversations start with “I remember when…” and end with “Man, what a good time.”

They are stories you tell your kids.

If I had a nickel every time I heard my father talks about Ali/Frazier or Borg/McEnroe…

Then there are those sports moments that alter your life.

My grandfather and I used to sit on my couch and watch Thanksgiving Day football. We were close, it was “our” thing. He knew of my love for the Cowboys, and he would always root against them.

I lost my grandfather a few years back, and not a Thanksgiving goes by that I don’t think of the time we shared on the couch.

Big or small, these moments are memories cherished for a lifetime.

While writing this article I called my father and asked him to relive his favorite sports moment of all time.

He told me a story about a peewee football game where a lanky young defensive end picked up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown. All the while his father, who was manning the chain gang on that particular day, dropped the marker and ran alongside his son all the way to the end zone.

That was my first touchdown.

Sports memories mean different things to different people. Some people say that sports are not important enough to equate a memory to or that they would never lay such importance on a game.

The sporting event is not what makes the memory great, it is the fact that the moment was shared with someone and that bond links you forever.

I will never forget sitting in that bar in Seville, Spain for 9 hours with my brother or one week later dancing through the streets of Madrid when Spain beat Germany in the Euro Cup.

Meeting one of the most beautiful girls in the world because of a little persistence and high school volleyball.

So what do sports mean to me? 

They means nothing and everything. They form some of my greatest memories and some of my saddest. If nothing else, they give my buddies and I something to discuss over beers—and that’s enough for me.

What do sports mean to you?