Max Thompson

David and Goliath were scheduled to fight one another. This was the final match before the tournament of champions began. Goliath had been absolutely perfect in his existence so far and was looking to solidify that before the tournament. David had struggled against inferior opponents, but was looking to end the regular season on a high note. In the long run, this typical match meant very little, considering the upcoming tournament. Nevertheless, David was incredibly nervous, as he was about to go up against the single most dominant opponent in modern history. Goliath always carried a somber tone of pure business, and this matchup was no different. The fight was intense, and midway through, there was no clear advantage for either opponent. By the end, Goliath had won the battle. Despite the loss, David was absolutely shocked that he was able to compete with Goliath for a full match.

Fast forward a month, and they meet again. This time, however, the stakes are infinitely higher. The winner of David vs. Goliath II will be the ultimate champion. David had lost to over a half dozen opponents beforehand, while Goliath was a perfect 18-0. That night, however, the audience witnessed history. As you were probably expecting, David shocked the world and beat Goliath, which earned him the highest honor: champion.

From the comfort of my playroom floor, I was among the lucky audience that got to witness this version of David and Goliath. I was seven years old. It was the first ever Super Bowl I had ever witnessed, and there was no team I despised more than the 18-0 New England Patriots. When that modern day Goliath lost to the New York Giants in February of 2008, it changed my life forever.

Sports are a unifying entity in an otherwise divided world. From the high school football player to the little kid that was forced on a youth soccer team to “build character,” we all have had some sort of experience with sports. You probably wouldn’t be reading this if you haven’t. The word sport is literally in the title.

Cheesy aphorisms aside, sports are a real escape from the world. Sure, you may have failed that exam. Sure, you may be sinking into debt. Sure, you may not feel like you have a future. But for a brief moment in time, whether watching or playing, the world and its pesky issues seem to move to the back seat of our consciousness. As a human being, it feels like those experiences are not just sought after, but vital.

Is a world without sports really all that bad? I don’t know, is a world without an iPhone all that bad? The answer to both is probably no. We can live long, meaningful lives without ever taking a jump shot, without ever seeing a blue message. Does that mean we want that? Of course not. A life without your phone would feel just like we do now — like something is missing.

I am not here to impersonate some coach going on about how “sports are like life.” I am here for the sole purpose of expressing my gratification for any and every sport. The heightened sense of missing something once it’s gone is the best way I can describe my relationship with sports at the moment. I am sure that I am not the only one. Countless individuals have built their entire existence around kicking, throwing or moving some object around an area. For the high school athletes who may never get to play again, for the collegiate players who have been training for months, for the casual fans and the diehards who are stuck with the wrong madness in March — I feel your pain.

I am not sure how to wrap this up. Sports are important, your feelings are important, and you probably feel a little off without a single game going on. I know I do. Nevertheless, you probably have more important things in your life at the moment. If I have provided even the slightest distraction to whatever issues are on your mind, I consider this piece a success. After all, someone has to try to replace the relief that sports typically provide. There are bigger issues in life, but sports still matter to so many of us. At some point, these meaningless games with made up rules and arbitrary teams will return. And we will embrace that return as if it was a long lost dog that made its way back home.

Thank you for reading. Wash your hands, cover your cough and practice better social distancing than James Harden with his stepback.

Max Thompson is a freshman majoring in business management and journalism and electronic media. He can be reached atsthomp92@vols.utk.edu. Follow @The_Out_Route on Twitter for high-quality NFL analysis!

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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