Tetmeyer: More than just a sport

Columnist Grant Tetmeyer explains how sports connect us all. 

Grant Tetmeyer

It’s always been more. More than just throwing a ball, hitting a puck, snagging a home run, making a slam dunk, chipping a ball in or any other simple descriptor that might be used to describe sports, because it is far more than any of these. Sports are a unifier as well as a divider. It can make gods and kings just as quickly as it can depose them and subject athletes to unknown obscurity. But most importantly of all, it gives us once in a lifetime every single year. 

There are a number of events that I would consider a once-in-a-lifetime moment that I have seen. The Minneapolis Miracle, where Marcus Williams misses a crucial tackle on Stefon Diggs to send Minneapolis to the NFC Conference Championship in the final moments of the game. Kawhi Leonard hitting the final dagger against the 76ers to send Toronto to its first-ever NBA Finals. The throw that cost Seattle Super Bowl 49 and baffled us all, and what Cyclone can forget the 37-31 double-overtime win over OSU? I still remember how much my voice hurt after screaming with joy when I saw Jeff Woody plow his way into the end zone. I even have a video of it. 

But it’s not just on the field where sports impact us. Who can forget the “Decision.” Watching the ESPN special on where he was going and why he was. Tiger Woods had the most public affair and the most spectacular revelation for him and his wife. That was one very eventful Thanksgiving break for 10-year-old me. I can still tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing the day that Kobe Bryant died. I was in the newsroom for an early morning production meeting and was sitting in the common area after just going through my phone when I got a Twitter notification that he had died. I didn’t believe it, and I went to Matt Belinson to see if he got it too. Then it started to pop up on everyone’s feed. Then I realized that it was real, that it wasn’t just some weird clickbait story that TMZ had put out because it was a slow day. It was real. The god that has been hailed as one of the best basketball players of all time was finally proven mortal well before any of us thought that he would be, and we all collectively mourned that day. 

Sports aren’t just a way to keep kids busy or a way to give you something to do on a weekend. They connect us in ways that we couldn’t have predicted. I share a connection with every Iowa State fan and every Kansas City Chiefs fan because we believe in the same team. We all share a collective hatred for the evil empire known as the New England Patriots. What is clear about all of this is it’s not just a game. It is, and always has been, so much more than that.