A good friend recently asked me why I enjoy covering sports so much, and at first, I was a bit taken aback. My initial thought was to question how he couldn’t love sports – the atmosphere, the pageantry, the goosebumps you get watching one person or one team overcoming the greatest of odds to reach the pinnacle of their sport. How could you not love that?
But after a few seconds of awkward silence, I pulled out my cell phone, went through my camera roll and simply handed him my phone without saying a word. It was a simple gesture, but it was all I had to do to convince him.
What he read was one of my favorite quotes, a short paragraph from an ESPN.com story on legendary North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith. Author Tommy Tomlinson stated in 58 words what was taken decades for others to realize. It reads:
“Why do we care about sports to begin with? Why do we watch? Maybe this: to connect. In the arena, or in a sports bar, or maybe just alone on your couch, you watch your favorite team and you plug into something bigger than yourself. It’s a hedge against the coldness of the world. Heaven is other people.”
My friend, after reading through the quote two or three times, simply handed back my phone and said, “Now I get it.”
And that folks, is why I applied for and accepted the sports editor position at the Collegian for next year. Not because of the money, or the hours, or even getting to watch sporting events for free – even though that is pretty cool. But the real reason I wanted this job was to connect — whether that be students to athletics, athletics to students, or a combination of the two.
For me, the true power of sports can’t be defined by dollar amounts, television ratings, or even the number of fans attending a certain sporting event. Whether it be a crowd of 50 parents freezing their butts off to watch their son or daughter play their first soccer game or a crowd of 100,000-plus cramming into a college football stadium for a game against their archrival, the true beauty of sports is its ability to connect people from all walks of life around one common idea.
And I hope that through the writing of the talented staff I am piecing together for next year that we are able to connect you with Colorado State athletics to a level that has never been reached before.
But to be truly great, we need your help.
As the student voice of Colorado State University, we want to know what YOU want to read. Tweet me at @kpopecollegian, send me a friend request on Facebook, although if you send me game invites, I reserve the right to unfriend you. Send me an e-mail, send me snail mail, send me something. If you see me on campus, stop me. Explain that you are not inviting me to a cult or trying to sell me something, and then proceed to tell me how we’re doing. Tell me we’re great, tell me we stink, just tell me something.
I want our staff to write stories that you’ll care enough about to read. Whether that means more in-depth previews, coverage of different sports, human interest pieces, or anything else, I want you to tell us. My goal is for our sports section to be the one and only place you go for news regarding Colorado State athletics, and I expect us to be exactly that.
There’s a great amount of excitement regarding the future of Colorado State athletics and we’ll be there to cover of every minute of it.
So what are you waiting for? Get on board.
The Pope has spoken.
Collegian Sports Editor Keegan Pope can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @kpopecollegian.