Sports are the crown of unscripted entertainment. 111.9 million people watched Super Bowl 50, a billion people watched the 2014 FIFA World Cup final and 3.5 billion viewers tuned in for the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
No matter what team or athlete you follow, the magic of sports is its ability to keep you at the edge of your seat during the whole event.
Growing up, my family was crazy about sports. Sundays brought three guarantees to our household: eggs for breakfast, church, and watching football. My two sisters did gymnastics and dance when they were younger. My brother Don was an All-American quarterback for Syracuse, and my brother Mark was once the 8th ranked boxer in the world. I played for the NFL’s San Diego Chargers for 4 years.
There’s something very real about sports. Though most athletic achievements can be attributed to hard work, discipline, and preparation, some things still happen by accident. Huge underdogs can win it all, and even the most dependable star can have a bad day.
In all those senses, sports are a great metaphor for life. That’s why we embrace them, because we connect with the athletes. We relate to their victories and struggles, and we follow their personal stories within the broader narrative of every match or game. It’s so fascinating when the everyday drama we know from real life makes an appearance in the lives of the famous athletes we follow.
For example, during a game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Texas Rangers on May 15th, second baseman Rougned Odor punched Jose Bautista for an aggressive slide. We can’t look away when two grown men who are playing a game get into a brawl that — outside of the context of sports — would’ve landed them in jail.
Read more at Famous Athletes Are Leaders in Our Culture.