At Utah Valley and every other university around the country, athletic events start out the same way: the audience rises to face our flag and sings or listens to the National Anthem. I will be the first to shamefully admit, sometimes this just becomes a thoughtless routine for me while attending multiple games a week. With Independence Day on Wednesday, I have had the time to think about this routine and how it needs to be taken more seriously.
I have the ability to choose whatever career I want and that is because of our freedom in this country. In fact, our freedom is what allowed me to become a sports writer. I started sports writing after a professor of mine helped me contact the previous Sports Editor here at the UVU Review. After I started writing, my editor helped me grow a love for sports that I had never had previously, especially around UVU athletics. This wasn’t necessarily my Editors intentions. If anything, he just wanted me to become a better writer and focus on my verb choice. Nevertheless, my love for sports has grown.
When I rush through my twenty minute drive to UVU and sit down to watch a game I will be writing about, there is something about watching a team win, or even lose. I can relate to it. I have a job that can be overwhelming, I take 16 credit hours in school and I have homework on top of that. Every day I face obstacles and it becomes my responsibility to endure through them to make the most positive results.
It’s an analogy that has been demonstrated hundreds of times and I understand that, but like sports, it’s inevitable that I’ll lose sometimes or take the wrong shots. Maybe I’ll let some teammates down or possibly disagree with what my superior has told me. But I have to decide my outcome.
Professional athletes might play for the money and college students may be doing it for the scholarship, but emotions that are put into every game, whether it’s a win or a loss, are relatable. They are emotions that I feel every single day condensed into a few hours. It’s the same reason a teenaged girl curls up in a blanket to watch The Notebook after a hard break-up. If I can’t feel the indescribable emotion of success after a long day at school, then maybe Goose Kallunki can do it for me when he’s at the plate in the ninth with loaded bases. Sports remind me that there is a light at the end of a tunnel but I have to make the right game plan to get there.
The National Anthem at the beginning of games means a lot of different things to each individual. The lyrics to the national anthem speak for themselves and, no doubt, we should remember all that we have lost to have our freedom. For me, the national anthem that brings everyone together before a game means that both players and spectators can win if they make it that way. And if it’s not, we are lucky we have the freedom to try again.