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More than a game

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By Stephen Lega

Too many people take sports too seriously.

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But sometimes, sports are about more than just a game.

During the past few weeks, Marion County athletes have proven that more than once.

Last week, the Knights soccer team defeated Bullitt East, 9-0. The game was never in doubt. Marion County led 5-0 at the half, and they kept up the pressure in the second half.

After the match, as I was speaking with Assistant Coach Philip Chatigny, a group of players started walking our way. They presented Chatigny with a card and gathered around him for a group hug. The coach’s sister died recently, and the players wanted to show him their support.

As we get older, we should be able to recognize that sports are meant to be fun, but they can and do teach us lessons as well.

Few among us have the skill and the drive to become professional athletes, but anyone can learn about teamwork, pushing himself or herself to improve, and striving to do his or her best by participating in sports. 

For one person, doing her best might mean competing for a spot on the Olympic team. For another, doing his best might mean running a 5K for the first time. For someone else, committing to play for a recreational team to stay in shape might be the goal.

Sports can also bring people together for a greater cause. 

On Oct. 1, the Lady Knights volleyball team hosted its seventh breast cancer awareness night. Before the match, Coach David Hibbard had his team stand before the crowd. He called out one-third of the players, to help the crowd see the roughly one in three people who will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

Hibbard continued to call names, pulling out smaller and smaller groups, ending with senior Nicole Mattingly representing someone who will die of cancer this year.

Marion County lost their match to Central Hardin that night, but more importantly, they raised $400 that will go toward cancer research.

Along those same lines, the football team added a touch of pink (socks, towels) to their uniforms Friday, and the boys and girls soccer teams were planning to paint the lines of the soccer field pink for their double-header on Oct. 8.

Those examples offer a stark contrast to the annual camp out for tickets to attend UK’s Big Blue Madness. Now, I’m not picking on fans for camping out, but one quote I read in the Kentucky Kernel, UK’s student newspaper, typifies that group who take sports too seriously.

Landi Davis, a Wildcat fan who has been camping out for 16 years, recalled some of the things she has seen during that time.

“It’s aggressive,” Davis was quoted as saying. “I saw a girl bite a guy. Another guy out front kicked a girl in the face.”

No sporting event would justify that kind of behavior to get tickets, and keep in mind Davis is talking about people trying to get tickets for a practice.

In the grand scheme of things, sports are great entertainment, and they can teach wonderful lessons about character and cooperation. Thankfully, most people understand that.