Sports: one of the many boxes life comes in

Jordan Harirchi

By: Jordan Harirchi, Assistant Sports Editor

I know I’m the assistant sports editor, but I want to get this one out of the way as quick as possible: my last sports column for the Spinnaker is about life, not sports.
My head football coach in high school once said, “Football isn’t life or death, but it can teach you about life and death.”
On the surface, sports and the happenings associated with them seem ordinary, mundane and unimportant — pure entertainment and nothing else — but beneath that opaque surface lies the same joys and pains found in the world we live in.
Religious fanatics, adulterers, over-opinionated zealots, liars caught in the act and a wealth of classy, under-the-radar people who rarely appear in the spotlight.
Sounds a lot like the real world, right? Go to any sports website, and you’ll probably find a sports figure that falls into one of those categories.
You see, once the shiny wrapping paper that is a football game, soccer game or any other sporting event is torn off, humanity shows both its ugly and beautiful side.
Sports aren’t just an imitation of the lives we all live. They echo our lives. Those people you see on television covet the same angels and battle the same demons as people do in everyday life.
Sports give hope to people. Even the most ardent Saints hater was happy the team won the Super Bowl after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans.
But making sports your god, similar to many other worldly things, will only leave you defeated in life.
Look at former San Diego Chargers quarterback Ryan Leaf. He was the second overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft. Fourteen years later, the NFL bust faces four felonies related to his painkiller addiction—a perfect example of an unhealthy reliance on a sport that can only last so long. Unfortunately, his new-found reliance is both unhealthier and illegal.
Leaf isn’t the only example of a washed-up player in his or her darkest hour. So many former and current athletes and coaches have fallen victim to this reliance.
It was late one night in front of the Florida Gators’ football stadium that I realized I lost the activity, football, that contributed most to my character in high school. My inner child was wrenched from my grasp. I bawled my eyes out, wishing I had been allowed to keep my child. That was 2008.
I stand here, four years later, after attempting to prolong my contact with sports through journalism, understanding the role it has played in my life as both a participant and, more recently, an observer.
Sports, like many other forms of entertainment, hobbies and material things, will pass with time, but the valuable lessons I’ve learned about life in the context of sports will stay with me till I die. Now, I give that inner child up willingly, hoping it’ll have the same impact on others that it’s had on me.
Question everything constantly. At the end of the day, a honest and true search for truth will always reveal just that. Peace and God bless.

Email Jordan Harirchi at [email protected]