The Early Lead:
By BRANDON HURLEY
We will never be able to truly escape the cruelties of the world, but for a few hours each day, we can find solace in a simple, but thrilling realm - sports.
Sometimes, entertainment can be a source of healing. And sports are the ultimate definition of entertainment, but they often mean so much more.
You hear it frequently - “Sports are my release” or “sports help me get away.
Now more than ever should we to look to sports as moments to step away from it all.
In no way am I saying we should forget all that’s happening in the world or that sports can solve our problems, but they can shed peace on a dark situation.
Take my recent conversation with Air Force veteran and Carroll native, Andrew Leonard for example. He’s a member of the traveling U.S. Military All-Star team and recently made a stop in Carroll for a baseball game against the Carroll Merchants.
For him, baseball healed him. While he nearly lost his life on the battlefields of Iraq due to fragments from a mortar which caused him to have a multi-month stay in the hospital, baseball was his guiding force once he could walk again. It helped him transition back into civilian life..
Baseball became his vice once he returned to the states.
“I deployed, I know what it’s like to come home. It’s rough, it’s very rough,” Leonard said. “It’s easy to go down a dark road, it’s easy to gravitate toward the negative things. There’s a lot of roads you can go down – for me, it’s baseball. That’s my therapy. When I’m out here (on the field), I might as well be a kid again, in Carroll Little League playing ball. I’m like a kid in a candy store.”
There are millions of stories just like Leonard’s, and even if you can’t play anymore, just watching sports can provide a release and can unite millions of people.
When our national anthem is played prior to a contest, do we find ourselves filled with anger and hate? Not at all. As a matter of fact, quite often, that song brings the entire crowd and both teams together.
The thrill of victory is just that - a thrill.
We can all moan and groan about raises, or that driver that cut us off, but for a few moments, an amazing play or a heart-stopping comeback can transport us into a different place - away from the stress of life.
Sports are unscripted reality shows without the unnecessary and petty drama. Sports are so unpredictable, which is what makes them so appealing.
You never be certain of a specific outcome, even if the talent gap seems a little too outrageous.
Sports can take you places, all over the world even. Or sometimes, back to your old stomping grounds.
They can create life-long friendships too, bring strangers together, and can spark pure enjoyment.
Leonard hadn’t set foot on the Merchants Park field in 12 years, but because he saw an opportunity and seized it, he was back on his old high school field, playing in front of a packed house Friday, July 8.
“To get to play ball here was just surreal,” he said.
Where else can you find moments like that?
Not in app, and certainly not on a reality TV show.