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Why Sports is So Important

Phillies 2009 NLCS ChampsBallparkBob is reporting today from Liverpool, England.

Today was a big day.  It was the culmination of a telemedia trade show that I attended in England.  Needless to say, I was up until 1 am at the final closing party for the show watching a band called The Cheatles.  You guessed it; what better band 40 years later in Liverpool.

As I awoke at 4:30 am to catch a taxi to Manchester Airport for a flight to Prague, the first thing I did was raced to my computer (as much as one can race to a computer at 4:30 am after staying out past 1:00).  I logged onto Phillies.com just to witness the final out as my beloved Phillies eliminated the Dodgers as Shane Victorino squeezed the last flyball tossed by none other than Brad Lidge who is (yes) perfect in post-season.

I then watched the highlights and saw Sexy (that’s the name the girl who sits behind me has on her # 28 jersey) Jayson Werth clobber two home runs.  In a few minutes, I was watching a video of the celebration and although I was 5 time zones away in a country where the idea of a ball hitting a bat is called cricket, I felt like I was there.  I was there last year for the NLCS, but work is a father’s priority and I can’t reschedule important trade shows.

I watched the video over and over until rushing to the shower to get ready for the taxi waiting outside my posh pad in Liverpool.

What I saw made me realize just how important sports is to society.

When is the last time you saw a black man and a white man hugging that wasn’t on the athletic fields?

When is the last time you saw a city come alive and stand as one, as has happened the last two seasons in Philadelphia?  Look in the stands.  Rich people, middle class people (sorry lower class people just can’t afford MLB any more).  Doctors, lawyers, and teachers.  Bus drivers, bar tenders, and motel clerks.

Still not sure how important sports is?  Ask your best friend.  Who was your sixth grade science teacher?  Then, ask them who was their Little League coach at age 12?  See which one they remember.

I wasn’t at Citizen’s Bank Park to celebrate with my wife, Barb, and daughter, Brittany, on Wednesday night.  As Brittany was walking out to the car, she said to my wife: “I’m so sorry that Dad wasn’t here.”

Don’t be sorry, Britt.

I was there.

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