“The Impact of Sports on my Life”
By: Michael Beezy
“The key is not the ‘will to win’…everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” This is a quote from Hall of Fame basketball coach, Bobby Knight. For a majority of my life, I have always considered myself a “sports-person” because of the many different sports that I consume for entertainment and personal joy. Sports has played a major role in my life whether I’m watching sports on television, playing sports on video games, or physically participating in sports. For this self-reflection paper, I’m going to discuss the many different ways sports has played a key role in my life. Also, I will explain how sports has ultimately contributed to the person I am today.
“The key is not the ‘will to win’…everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” -Bobby Knight
First, I’m going to discuss my earliest sports memories from my childhood. Over the course of my thirty-years on this Earth, I’ve experienced many different sports moments; however, there’s three sports memories from my childhood that have stuck with me more than others. The first sports memory from my childhood that I can remember, was when I was five-years-old watching Damon Bailey play basketball for Indiana University. Damon Bailey sticks with me because he was my Mom’s favorite player, she adored him. My Mom even named my sister, Bailey, after Damon Bailey.
The second sports memory that I can remember from my childhood was the 1993 NBA Playoffs, when the Indiana Pacers played the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs. Why this series has stuck in my mind, is because I remember a certain game in the series when Reggie Miller and John Starks got into a heated fight during the game. This was the same series Reggie Miller and Spike Lee began their “war of words”, from the basketball court to the stands, sparking one of the most compelling sports rivalries in NBA history. The rivalry inspired ESPN 30 for 30, “Winning Time.”
The third sports memory I remember from my childhood is the 1996 Summer Olympics, when Michael Johnson won gold medals in the 200 meters and 400 meters. I remember Michael Johnson because he always wore gold jewelry and raced in gold Nike spikes. I remember always thinking when watching him, “I really want those shoes. I want to be fast like Michael Johnson.”
Next, I’m going to discuss my favorite sports and how I developed a personal relationship to those sports. My favorite sports include: basketball, football, track and field, and professional wrestling (WWE). Basketball, I’ve always found appealing because my Dad loved the game of basketball. When I was as young as six-years-old, I was playing in basketball leagues and going to basketball camps. I believe what contributed to my love for the game of basketball had much to do with my friends, because they all played basketball as well. Football, I became a fan of in 1995, when I watched the Dallas Cowboys beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. The one player who caught my attention and garnered my interest in football was, ‘Prime Time’ Deion Sanders. I loved watching Deion play because he would play both offense and defense for the Cowboys. Deion also wore gold necklaces, danced around and celebrated, and was just one of the most exciting players to watch on television during the nineties.
Track and Field, I developed a passion for because I loved the idea of being fast. Growing up, I remember I would race other kids to see who the fastest kid was. My love for track grew deeper when I was in middle school, and I participated on the track team. My whole high school career I ran track and cross country, creating many lifelong bonds with my teammates that I will always hold dear to my heart. What excites me more than anything about track is that it’s an individual race, some team events, but its mental with the individual. Anything can happen in a race, whether it’s a 100-meter dash or a 3,000-meter run, I get the same excitement every time I watch a race and hear the bell for the final lap, because that’s when the race is won and lost.
Professional Wrestling, I developed a strong love and passion for when I was seven-years-old. The first wrestling show I ever saw was on television, on TNT, and it was called ‘WCW: Monday Night Nitro.’ I remember watching Diamond Dallas Page fight Raven and wondering if it was real or not. As a child, I thought it was real. I would say professional wrestling is my favorite sport because even though I know it is scripted, I have so much love, respect, and interest for the characters, the storylines, and the business as a whole. I believe Vince McMahon is one of the most incredible people in this world because of what he has done to globalize the wrestling business and the WWE, as a whole. Professional Wrestling, is what inspired me to go back to school ten years later. My overall goal with my education, is to work for the WWE in the creative department.
Next, since I’m a fan of many different sports, I’m going to discuss sports teams that I love, and, sports teams that I hate. I have various sports teams that I love across different sports. For instance, in basketball my favorite teams are Indiana University Men’s basketball and the Indiana Pacers. I developed my love and passion for Indiana Men’s basketball because a majority of my family was big time Indiana fans, Bobby Knight fans. I developed my love for the Indiana Pacers from watching Reggie Miller and going to Market Square Arena for Pacer games with my Dad. In football, my favorite teams include: Alabama football, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Dallas Cowboys. I began my love for Alabama football in 2002, after watching the film, ‘The Junction Boys’, on ESPN. The film starred, Tom Berenger, and was about Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant and the training camp after losing the Cotton Bowl to Texas A&M.
My love for the Indianapolis Colts and the Dallas Cowboys developed when I first started watching football. Being from Indianapolis, I’ve always been loyal to my hometown teams. I remember captain comeback, Jim Harbaugh, and how the city and members of my family, adored him. However, my personal love for the Indianapolis Colts developed stronger when Peyton Manning was drafted. I love the Dallas Cowboys, mainly because of my Dad’s personal love for the Cowboys. In baseball, my favorite team is the New York Yankees. I’ve liked the Yankees ever since I saw Derek Jeter play for the first time. Although, my love for the sport of baseball isn’t as strong as my love for other sports, as I’ve gotten older I have found more appreciation and excitement for the game itself. I believe what has made my personal feelings towards baseball change, has a lot to do with Arron Judge and the rest of the Bronx Bombers.
Now that I have discussed teams that I love, I will now discuss the two teams that I hate. The first sports team that I hate is the, New England Patriots. My hatred for the New England Patriots stems over the course of my lifetime. There’re two particular reasons I hate the Patriots. The first reason I hate the Patriots, is because of the 2004 Playoff game in Foxboro when the Patriots beat the Colts, 24-14. This particular game started my hatred towards New England because during the game, the Patriots defense held the Colts receivers at the line of scrimmage, and the refs never called a penalty for it. After that 2003-2004 season, the NFL implemented a rule change, where defenders couldn’t touch receivers inside five yards or the defender would be penalized, because of what transpired in the Colts/Patriots playoff game. The second reason I hate the Patriots is because of, Willie McGinest, and how he faked an injury to stop the clock during a regular season game against the Colts. I remember Peyton Manning running the “no-huddle” offense, driving down the field to win the game, when suddenly McGinest fell to the ground holding his leg in pain. The next play, McGinest made the game saving tackle to beat the Colts and he ran thirty-yards down field in celebration. The last reason I hate the Patriots is because of they were proven “cheaters” at one point in time, and, it always made me feel the Colts were robbed of opportunities because of the Patriots.
The second team I have a strong hatred for is, Kentucky Men’s basketball. I believe one of the main reasons I developed this hatred is because Kentucky is one of Indiana’s biggest rivalries. Also, I feel like every time Indiana plays Kentucky, at or in Kentucky, the referees are always against Indiana. What fueled my hatred for Kentucky even more was in the past ten years, with John Calipari as their coach. I personally feel John Calipari shouldn’t even be allowed to coach in college because of the many different cheating scandals he has been involved him. Hiring a proven cheater, to a team that I already hated, added more fuel to the fire.
Next, I’m going to discuss my favorite sports film and why it left the strongest impression on me. Although there are many sports movies that I could name as my personal favorites (Hoosiers (1986), Remember the Titans (2000), The Express (2008)), the one sports movie that left the strongest impression on me was, Glory Road (2006). The film, Glory Road, is based on a true story and is about the 1966 Texas Western basketball team, who was the first team to start five black players and win the National Championship. The film explores racism, discrimination, and does a very solid job of depicting what being black in America as a student athlete, was really like, during the sixties.
Glory Road (2006), left such a strong impression on me because the film has many different scenes where you see what these young men had to go through, because of the color of their skin, and playing the game that they love. As I mentioned earlier how I hated Kentucky Men’s basketball, opposing team in the movie is Kentucky and they’re coached by legendary basketball coach, Adolf Rupp. The film depicted Adolf Rupp, as a racist, when he first went against Texas Western. However, in the end credits of the film there is information about Adolf Rupp and how he eventually recruited African-American athletes. Next, I’m going to discuss the sports hero who made a major impact on the person I am today.
The sports hero that has made a major impact on the person I am today is, Michael Jordan. One of the biggest things I always admired about Michael Jordan, was how he embodied greatness. When Michael played basketball, he made everybody around him better, including the coaches. Michael Jordan was fearless on the basketball court. I admired Michael Jordan so much, that I collected all his memorabilia over his playing career and after. The only tennis shoes that I own are, Jordan’s. Michael Jordan is a successful businessman, entrepreneur, and overall person. Next, I’m going to discuss opinions, attitudes, and views of the world that I developed from playing and watching sports.
One of the key views of the world that I developed through sports is accepting everybody, regardless of the color of their skin, or their gender. A major attitude that I developed through sports, is my attitude towards my everyday life. I think about how athletes can come from nothing, and, because of their hard work and determination live out their childhood dreams, goals, and fantasies. The concept of, work ethic, crosses my mind when I think about sports and certain athletes. Going to Ben Davis High School, I was a part of the track and cross-country team for four years, where I developed bonds and a brotherhood with my teammates. The concept of working as a team in sports, even followed me as a I got older and worked at different places of business. Most companies encourage teamwork, for the company to be successful.
In conclusion, I’ve discussed many personal life examples on how sports has played a key role in my life. Throughout this self-reflection paper, I discussed: my earliest sports memories, my favorite sports and why, sports teams that I love and hate, my favorite sports film, my sports hero, and how sports ultimately played a role in shaping my opinions, attitudes, and views of the world. Overall, I believe without sports I wouldn’t have become the person that I am today. I believe I wouldn’t dress the way I do, I wouldn’t see the world the way I do, if I didn’t have sports play a role in my life. I created lifelong friendships, through my participation in high school sports, that I will always have memories of because of the impact not only the sport had, but my teammates had on me. I realize now, a major reason I love the teams I love and hate the teams I hate, is because of my family and who I grew up around. The teams my Dad loves, are teams that I love too. Sports provides an outlet away from the everyday problems taking place in society.
Sports inspires, motivates, and can change an individual’s life completely, for the better, because of the determination and motivation of athletes who live out their dreams playing the game they love.