Contemplating the meaning of life in sport

Christmas and the closing of another year, it is a time when many are increasingly thoughtful about life and what really matters.

With the heralding of Christmas and the closing of another year, it is a time when many become introspective, and increasingly thoughtful about life and what really matters.

The events of the past few weeks have made it even more poignant.

The unthinkable mass murder at a primary school in Newtown, Conn., the bizarre murder-suicide carried out by a player of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, and the shootings in a mall in Oregon are tragic and sobering, particularly at a time of year when families come together for a season that should be filled with peace, love, and joy.

I will let other media dissect the decline of the American Empire ad infinitum, but if anything, these events remind us all too gravely at how precarious and precious life is.

Sport seems incredibly insignificant in light of the horrors, and yet the games still get played, the anthems sung, a win celebrated, a loss lamented, and the world does not stop as perhaps it should.

We are human, and sometimes playing a football game or going to watch a hockey game is how many of us deal with the world’s problems. It is our therapy, our way of coping, a brief escape from the troubles that afflict us.

Sport is not life; the NHL has taught us that indeed we can get on quite fine without it. Yet, whether it is hockey, baseball, figure skating, or swimming, sport enhances our existence, it binds us, and sometimes defines us, it provides us all with moments of pride, hope, elation, and at times despair, but it makes us all feel part of something a little larger than ourselves – a family – whether it be the Smokies, the Nitehawks, the skating club, the Stingrays or a Little League team.

So with thoughts for those who have suffered terribly and profoundly in the past weeks, let’s treasure the time spent with our families perhaps a little moreso this year.

I know I will relish the smiles and laughter of my nieces and nephews more robustly, think of my dad who has passed, savour the moments spent with my wife,  and enjoy the company of my amazing sisters and brother, even my in-laws, more acutely. I will decorate liberally with mistletoe, sing louder – much to the dismay of all around me, partake of Christmas fare, sweets, and egg nog with renewed enthusiasm, and I will hug my mom just as hard as I can.

I wish the best of the season to all whether your family is at home, abroad, or at the Cominco Arena – Happy Holidays.