Sports no longer a fantasy world

By Peter Bailey-Wells

In the last year, the world celebrated the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and the World Cup in Brazil. Both were celebrations of sports and humanity and both had some problems, but ultimately, were judged to be successful demonstrations of the spirit of competition.

They were also something else. Both events demonstrated quite clearly that now more than ever, sports are relevant to the outside (non-sporting) world.

The Olympics highlighted the increasingly aggressive attitude of Russian president Vladimir Putin and the human rights violations occurring there. Demonstrations by the group Pussy Riot proved further that Russia is beginning to fulfill the role of world villain that it shed following the Cold War.

The World Cup highlighted the global poverty epidemic that is only getting worse, and aimed the cameras of ESPN squarely at the favelas and street protests of Rio de Janiero.

There’s no doubt that not everyone likes sports, but there’s also no doubt that news is no longer complete without sports.

The NFL’s attitude towards concussions, drug use and the treatment of women are a significant window into how strongly morality clashes with making a profit in our modern corporation-dominated culture.

What does this mean? It means you should read the sports section of The Daily Illini. Watch 30 minutes of SportsCenter a day. You might find a story that stuns you, you might find a story that excites you, and you might find a story that changes your perspective on the world. In our modern society it is increasingly important to be informed and following sports is an inescapable part of that.

So this year, while you go through school, or work, or whatever you do with your day, don’t forget to check in on the sporting world. Great stories, horrible stories, and in-between stories abound in the sporting world. In a time when bad news is everywhere, sports are an arena (no pun intended) in which a great story can follow a horrible story in the blink of an eye.

You may not like sports, but pay attention to them, because every day, they matter more and more. 

Peter is a sophomore in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @pbaileywells22.