Rozner: Why we love sports so much

  • The empty Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Capitals.

    The empty Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Capitals. Associated Press

Updated 3/24/2020 6:27 PM

You never know how much you need something until it's taken away.

That is certainly the case for most of us whose lives revolve around sports.


Whatever your passion, you look forward every day to that diversion, knowing each night or the next morning there is an event to watch or attend.

But the sports world has gone dark and it's rough for those who need something to think about beyond how to search the black market for toilet paper.

"I have always viewed sports as an important distraction from the real world," said White Sox GM Rick Hahn when baseball shut down a few weeks ago. "Obviously in this case, we are not immune from the real world."

True enough.

Never in our lifetime have we seen an interruption like this across the board, at least for such an extended period.

Not that there would be a good time to cancel everything, but it's particularly rough just before March Madness, both college and high school, with the NHL and NBA regular seasons nearing an end and the playoffs on tap, and with baseball Opening Day in our midst.

Yeah, that was scheduled for this Thursday.

For the golf degenerates among us, losing The Players Championship -- considered the fifth major -- along with the Masters and PGA Championship, is indescribably bad, but then we are perhaps more spoiled than anyone.

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Since the PGA Tour instituted the fall wraparound schedule a few years ago, there are only two or three weeks a year without a tournament, and on those weekends there is usually an event in Australia, South Africa or somewhere on the European Tour with spectacular viewing opportunities.

To borrow from "The King's Speech," there will be dark days ahead.

It could be suggested here that perhaps the anger you sometimes feel toward your team might be mitigated some when play resumes, that you will simply be grateful that the games are back.

But then I always remember one of the great joys of being a fan is that love and anger are joined at the hip, and the passion you feel for your team brings both.

That is the essence of being a fan.

Over the 35 years in this business, I have tried to remember that there was once a time when I had those feelings.

Even when distraught over your favorite club, it is nevertheless something to take you away from all the ails and all the ills of life, which never seem to pause, and when you're yelling at your television that is as much a break from daily life as the joy of winning.


As I wrote here last year, I spent several days and nights not sleeping in my brother's hospice room last May, before he passed away. The only distraction was talking to the relatives of other patients, and a TV on which I found sports distractions.

I don't know if my brother heard me talking to the TV when they took down the winner in the Kentucky Derby after a 22-minute review, costing me a very large trifecta in the process.

That was brutal, but it was 22 minutes when I wasn't staring at him, watching him suffer.

The European Tour was on in the middle of the night, there was the PGA and baseball during the day and the NHL and NBA playoffs at night.

What would I have done to pass the time? I was his only family and it's not like we could have a conversation -- not that it stopped me from trying.

The point is sports are always there for us, and now that they're not there's a rather large void in our daily lives.

The good news is, when they return, we can go back to yelling and screaming at our televisions, jumping for joy or firing remotes at the wall.

We are in for a long wait, but we will get our sports back eventually.

And those will be very good days, indeed.

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