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Sports Authority

Ivey: Sports will continue to heal after disasters

| Wednesday, October 25, 2017

On Saturday night, the Houston Astros defeated the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the ALCS and clinched the franchise’s first trip to the World Series since 2005. Beginning Tuesday night, the Astros will play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the best-of-seven Fall Classic for a chance to win their first World Series championship in franchise history.

The city of Houston will be behind them, cheering them on every step of the way — the same city that, just two months ago, was ravaged by the massive Hurricane Harvey along with other parts of southern Texas and Louisiana. Harvey caused at least 90 deaths, displaced 32,000 people from their homes and caused an estimated $70 billion in damages. The recovery effort is still ongoing.

During this tough time, the Astros have given people in the city of Houston and the surrounding areas a reason to smile and be happy.

This is just another example of the power sports can have. A lot of the time, especially during tough times when people could use a distraction, sports can serve as an outlet for people to escape from reality for a short time and have fun with other people by cheering on their team. Few things can bring entire groups of people together like sports can, and sports can make people feel better in tough times.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this. In fact, it isn’t the only example happening right now.

The Vegas Golden Knights are currently in their first season as an NHL expansion team. The team doesn’t have any notable superstars and were picked by many to be one of the worst teams in the league this season. So far, however, the Golden Knights have gotten off to one of the best starts made by any team this season, posting a 6-1-0 record through their first seven games. They are the first expansion team in NHL history to win six of their first seven games. People in Las Vegas have gotten behind their new pro sports team. This all comes a couple of weeks after the Las Vegas concert shooting that left 59 people (including the gunman) dead and over 500 others injured on Oct. 1. The Golden Knights held a memorial service for the victims of the attacks before their first-ever home game on Oct. 10 and proceeded to win that game in rousing fashion, 5-2 over the Arizona Coyotes. The Golden Knights have been the feel-good story of the new NHL season so far, not just because of their surprisingly good play, but because of what their play has meant for the people of Las Vegas who are still in mourning. The Golden Knights have given Las Vegas something to be happy about during a tough time.

Back in 2013, the Boston Marathon bombing shook the city of Boston and the entire country to its core. The manhunt for the bombers after the attack made Bostonians feel unsafe in their own homes. The city and its people needed a pick-me-up, and they received it in — where else? — their sports teams. The Boston Bruins made a surprise run to the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals, just months after the attack. Even though they fell in six games, the run to the Finals served as a welcome distraction for Bostonians. But it didn’t stop there. The Red Sox finished the 2013 regular season with a 97-65 record and an AL East title. They ended up defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2013 World Series in six games. The World Championship helped the people of Boston regain a sense of familiarity after the city was rocked by the bombing just six months earlier.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, sports helped the nation regain a sense of comfort, especially baseball. The New York Yankees went on a run to the 2001 World Series just a month after the attacks. The run made the majority of the country actually cheer for the Yankees, who had won the three previous World Series Championships. Even though the Yankees lost the World Series in seven games, the run helped the people of the city of New York cope with what had happened.

During trying times, sports can serve as an outlet for people to release their emotions and join with others in escaping reality for a short time. Of course sports don’t solve all of these problems, but they can at least make people happy for a short time, which is extremely important.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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