An Ode to Sports

Sports...that's how I'm going to begin my 1st article about sports. How original. My name is Matthew Sizemore. Most call me Matt, but others call me Matthew or Size or Matty or Sizzle or Sizeless or Size Matters or etc. In high school, I had friends in almost every group there was; the punks, the nerds, the gamers, the skaters, the candlestick makers, and so on. To many of those friends, my nickname was simply "Jock." Why?  I have been playing sports since before I can remember. Even today, I play in a co-ed softball league. And yes, I ice after every game.  But here's the beautiful thing; I was most likely the only starter on the varsity football team that could name every spacecraft in the Rebel Alliance. I was the only track athlete who would win a league championship in the discus ring, and then go home to another ring...the one that ruled them all. And I am pretty sure I'm the only guy in school history to get off the football field to stand with a buddy on the sideline humming the Legend of Zelda theme. I've also been called a geek several times throughout my life, but I never minded. Sports are for everyone...except Carly Ray Jepsen. Did you see her ceremonial first pitch? AWFUL.

You see where she's looking? You see where the ball isn't? Photo: abc News

You see where she's looking? You see where the ball isn't? Photo: abc News

Anyway, with enough friends, anyone and everyone can play sports. (Again, except Carly Ray. sorry) A few years ago, some of my friends and I started a men's league softball team with only a few experienced athletes on the team. Though we were okay (beer played a big part in that), we had more fun than I can even shake a stick at, and I shake sticks at things on a regular basis. You want to know what pure, unadulterated joy is? Watching your kid take his or her first steps? Sure, I'm confident that will be great. But watching your favorite baseball team hit a walk-off homerun in the World Series? PURE, UNADULTERATED JOY! I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY I AM USING THE WORD UNADULTERATED OR THE CAPS LOCK! Sports may start out as a fun, athletic activity for kids, but they can turn into people's lives. Whether you're a fan or a pro athlete, sports rule a certain part of your life, and that means they bring EMOTION out of humans! WEIRD!

My favorite basketball player is and always has been Kobe Bryant. This season is his last season on the World Famous Los Angeles Lakers, as he announced he would retire at the conclusion of a season that most Laker fans want to forget. Now I am a MAN standing at 6'2 and weighing around 240 lbs. That being said, I get a little emotional every time I see Kobe play for the last time at various stadiums around the country. While I'm writing this, Kobe is just a few days away from playing his last game ever. Needless to say, my reaction to it will most likely be compared to me chopping a boatload of onions about 2 inches from my face.

I'm gonna be a wreck, but hey...that's sports. They bring out the best in people (Mike Vick) and the absolute worst in people (Michael Vick). We love watching the great ones (Michael Jordan) yet still get enjoyment from seeing the awful ones (Carly Ray Jepsen...wow, I don't even hate her. I don't know why she's getting so much airtime right now!). But that emotion that we feel is all part of the passion we have for our team(s). Without passion, we have no fans, no players, no teams, no SPORTS! And without sports, we have Mordor...that's a sad sounding reality. So here's to SPORTS! Thanks for all that you do and have done, except traumatic brain injury and occasional paralysis. No thank you for that. But here's to sports anyway! You are my heart and passion, and I will continue to watch and play you until my body says "Stop it...seriously, stop this madness." Now to go study the art of how to end an article...I'll be better next time.