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Column: Sports bring people together

By Erica Brancato
On April 2, 2014

Sports have always been a part of my life. Although my parents had two girls, my dad was able to bond with us through sports. We would talk stats during baseball, fall asleep during golf and NASCAR and scream at the television when football was on. From a very young age my dad taught me the rules of almost every game. This was our bonding time. I would look forward to the Yankees games or Sunday afternoons in the fall when football was basically the only thing allowed on television.
Unlike most pre-teen girls, I was more into sports than anything else. Baseball was my favorite thing to watch and Derek Jeter was my idol. I would sit so close to the television and call whether the pitch was a ball or strike, loving every second of the game. However, after growing up I realized that sports are more than just a game. A sport brings people together; it allows hope. A single game can bring pure joy or defeat and heartbreak to both players and fans alike. They impact us in a unique way. I love sports because it is more than just winning and losing.
After the Boston Marathon bombing, the whole country was devastated. Sports played an unlikely, but inspirational role to unite the city. When the Boston Red Sox won the World Series last season, they brought the whole state of Massachusetts together to prove that the phrase "Boston Strong" is spot on. Despite such tragedy, the community showed their support and love.
Also, there was a huge buzz in the football world about how the fans would react as Peyton Manning made his first trip back to Indianapolis with a new team. Manning got a standing ovation and tribute before the game started. He is one of the very few quarterbacks who would get a warm welcome, tribute and standing ovation from the team he was cut from. This gesture from the fans shows that Manning's legacy would never be forgotten.
The same goes for when Mariano Rivera retired last season. I don't think there was a dry eye for any baseball fan when Rivera embraced Andy Pettitte on the pitchers mound. That right there is why I love sports. Baseball's greatest closer was leaving and history was made with Mariano Rivera. He had his own theme song when he came out on the field and Yankees fans expected his famous cut fastball to bring the Bronx Bombers a win, yet his career was ending. Baseball would never be the same. Although the time came that Mo would no longer be in pinstripes, his performances would be remembered forever.
This weekend, UConn will embark on the same history making that Manning, Rivera and the Red Sox have made. After both basketball teams made it to the Final Four, it has been the only thing on our minds. In the tournament games for both teams, fans have not only felt the anguish when UConn was down, but we also experienced the pride when UConn was up. Every time both the teams scored, you could hear eruptions of cheers and chants from every corner of campus. I love that. We have hope and so much pride and we are ready to celebrate with these two teams this weekend. No matter the outcome we came together as one, which is what sports is all about.
I love covering sports because every game is truly a moment of history. It impacts people in so many different ways. A single play or move could be legendary, a player could change the way a sport is played and a sport can create a movement. To be a part of that history is amazing. Get excited UConn because here we come.

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