Chicago Sports: Uniting people from all walks of life

Chicago Sports (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Chicago Sports (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Chicago sports brings people from all different backgrounds together. Sports, in general, can bring even team rivals together in ways that people may not expect.

This is going to be something completely different than what I normally write. I will not be analyzing a player. I will not be breaking down possible trades. This article will not even be looking at a specific team. A recent personal experience inspired me to take this on and might be one of my favorite pieces I have ever written.

I am not one to usually share personal struggles or loss publicly. However, I have decided, this topic is too important to not discuss. Writing about this is also very therapeutic for me as I am going through yet another rough time in my life.

Before we get into all the tragedies and loss, we have to go back in time. When I was young, like most children, I played multiple sports. Football was always my favorite despite being overweight and unathletic. After breaking my leg though, I was no longer allowed to play contact sports. Thanks, mom (insert eye roll).

I tried out for the golf team. I did not make the second cut. I did, however, make the bowling team.

Go ahead. Get your chuckles in now. No, really, go ahead. It is okay, I laugh at myself all the time too. Really, the bowling team? Guess what, though. Even the bowling team brought people together. I met my best friend throughout high school on the bowling team.

In fact, his family became my second family during my mom and stepdad’s divorce. We were both big sports fans, but get this, I am obviously a die-hard Chicago Bears fan and he is a die-hard  Minnesota Vikings fan. That is right, sports can bring even team rivals together. Not to mention, he is a Chicago Cubs fan and I am a Chicago White Sox fan. These things just did not matter. Why? Because we both loved sports and found a commonality in it.

Fast forward and I am now an adult. Okay, maybe not an adult-adult, but I am in college. Did you know college students know everything? Well, this college student knew everything. While on my own I developed into my own person. I formed my own views on the world and they differed greatly from my parents’ views.

For every single thing I have in common with my parents, I have ten times the amount of differing opinions on life. My world views are most differing from my dad’s views. Although I share traits of his, both good and bad, we could not be more different. My opinions are obviously the right ones though, just do not ask him.

Without my dad though, I would not be writing this article. Without my dad, I am not sure I would have the passion for sports that I have today. He is the one who introduced me to the Chicago White Sox at a young age. He was the one that introduced me to the Chicago Bears.

Although I should be upset with him for choosing teams that have suffered through mediocrity throughout my lifetime, I instead am thankful for introducing me to two teams with a great fanbase. Okay, you got me. Maybe the White Sox fanbase is not the best, but I love talking baseball with them anyway.

How many of you have a parent to thank for making you the sports fan you are today? Maybe you have different political views or social views. However, on game day, those things all wash away. You both sit down with your platter of nachos and whiskey and coke and yell at the television together. Just think about Super Bowl parties. These are examples of how sports can bring everyone together.

Sports brings more than families together though. Fast forward again. I am now married to my beautiful wife. She is a new teacher at her school and developed a connection with another teacher on her team. We get invited to have dinner at her house with her husband.

Have you ever had to go meet one of your wife’s friends or maybe accompany her to one of her work parties? The thought of being forced to make friends with people because your wife likes them is not only somewhat embarrassing but also annoying. The pressure of having to like them too and like their significant other can be downright exhausting.

The one thing though that usually helps eliminate the anxiety involved with these situations is being able to talk sports. It does not matter if you like the same teams either. You can talk about players or even fantasy sports. This is what happened with my close friend Justin. Our wives brought us together, we talked sports and he is now one of my closest friends.

Justin and I can talk about sports for hours, but our relationship has developed way beyond that aspect. He is one of the people in my life I can count on. He is the person who I lean on the most when things are not right in life. Sports may have been our main commonality in the beginning, but now I have a friend who I can share my most personal information.

Sports has even allowed me to develop relationships with people around the world. With social media, sports communities are thriving. I have connected on a personal level with many people through social media apps like the Fantasy Life App and Twitter.

Over the years I have made some great connections with people through sports and fantasy sports. I have had conversations with analysts within the sports industry. I have developed close relationships with other NFC North fans. Although I have only met one of these people in person, the sports community on social media is like no other.

As a writer and analyst, I have developed relationships with others who write for the same sites. I am excited to call Da Windy City home. I could not be writing with a better group of people, and I cannot wait for a Chicago meet-up. The support that this group and others I have connected with have been exponential in my life.

Recently, I was hospitalized because of my Crohn’s disease. I received messages of support from many great people in the sports community. We are talking people all over the United States and even other countries. This is just the tip of the iceberg though.

In 2017, I lost my stepmom to cancer. It was one of the hardest things I have gone through. Although she was not my biological mother, she has been my mom since I was four. A few months before that I lost my stepdad to a sudden heart attack. A month before that we lost a close friend who went into septic shock at the age of 39.

Throughout all of these tragedies, the thing that helped me the most was the support I received from everyone. Not only the people physically in my life but also those within the sports communities. Now, I am going through yet another personal experience that again involves cancer taking the life of someone I love.

As I said, writing this article has been therapeutic. The ability to lose myself in an article about sports or conversations about sports makes the days that much easier. As I watch my loved one suffer, it brings back memories of my stepmom suffering. I am doing my best to be strong for my family and my children. I thank those that let me be weak and open up without judgment.

I thank those who have reached out to me through messages or texts. I thank those who have said prayers for the people in my life who are struggling with this situation. Seeing the sports world lift my spirits has been amazing. No matter your background, no matter your gender or your race, sports can bring us together. Who else can you learn to love and still smack talk on the regular if not your fellow sports fans?

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Remember to pay it forward. Whether it be by connecting with others on social media, striking up a conversation with a co-worker or even a stranger or by spreading the love of sports onto your children. Sports, especially Chicago sports, are a universal language.