The Dugout

In recent years, sports and real world events often intertwine with sports serving as a healing mechanism for the grieving public. For example, President George W. Bush’s iconic first pitch at Yankee Stadium after 9/11. This simple event that takes place before every Major League Baseball (MLB) game will always be remembered as a moment that brought the public together in a time of need. Unfortunately, horrific events keep on happening like on February 14, when 17 Stoneman Douglas High School students lost their life in a school shooting. The Florida high school community will continue to grieve their losses, but not without the help of sports. Obviously the pain will still be there and will not be going away anytime soon, but the Stoneman Douglas hockey team provided a much needed reason to smile by capturing the state championship just 11 days after they lost their friends, classmates and peers. The hockey team battled the highest level of adversity and came through when they were needed most. The 17 members of the team took their medals and placed them on the crosses that were honoring the fallen. The most recent school shooting has reignited the gun control debate, which leads to prominent sports figures speaking their mind on the topic. The National Basketball Association (NBA) has established a platform where the players speak the mind on current events without punishment or repercussions, if you are unfamiliar with this, it is the exact opposite situation than the National Football League and kneeling for the national anthem. LeBron James, who is the face of the NBA on and off the court, took a stance on the issue while participating in the NBA All-Star game just days after the tragedy. Whether you like him or not (as a Boston Celtics fan, I have my fair share of LeBron criticism), LeBron is one of the largest opinion leaders in the nation. With 40.8 million Twitter followers, LeBron can pretty much push the needle for whatever he wants to, whatever he says, people will listen and follow. Knowing his platform, LeBron acknowledged there is an issue in the country with gun control, but admitted he does not know the solution. In a world where politics are, for lack of a better term, a mess right now, LeBron’s comments hold a lot of weight. People often argue that athletes should just “stick to sports” and this was once again echoed when Fox News anchor argued that NBA players, notably, LeBron James and Kevin Durant should, “shut up and dribble.” The amazing thing about sports, shown with the Stoneman Douglas hockey team, and then again with the NBA, is that people in a community come together when there is an attack, physical or verbal, against one of their own. The family aspect of sports is what makes it so appealing to people, while on different scales, the NBA family and Stoneman Douglas are perfect examples of how sports are a brotherhood. No matter what happens in the future, sports will always be there waiting to help individuals grieve and give them a release from what they are feeling. People hear about the magic of sports, but until you feel it, you do not truly know the impact that sports can have on you.

Luke Chiasson