During the holiday season, there is much made about giving gifts to one another or the giving of one’s self to a charitable cause or organization. However, once we begin to move past the holidays and into a new year, we often go back to the status quo, forgetting about the gift of giving.
For 2019, I have a challenge for all of our readers here at Cincinnati Soccer Talk. I want everyone to consider giving the gift of sports — more specifically FC Cincinnati.
That doesn’t mean going out to buy your significant other a scarf or the neighbors down the street season tickets. Rather, we can give the gift of sport in ways that are more meaningful or significant in the long-term.
Even though it may not feel like it sometimes since we are from Cincinnati, the power of sport can do wonderful things.
First, it can give us hope. With the start of each season comes a clean slate, new aspirations and a feeling that this year will be the year, no matter the odds. Hope allows us to maintain a positive outlook, even when the season isn’t quite going the way we were hoping for.
Second, it serves as inspiration. Children, and sometimes even adults, look up to athletes as role-models. These players serve as a source of creativity and innovation while they are playing the sport that we love, doing things on the field that we could only dream of.
Third, it allows us to celebrate. In sports, we celebrate more than we often realize. We celebrate small things like when someone scores a goal or makes a diving save, and we celebrate big things like winning a regular season championship or moving up to Major League Soccer. Celebration gives us joy, something we all feel when watching FC Cincinnati on the pitch.
Sports often serves as a microcosm of our life. Just as all the things listed above are a big part of sports, they should be a big part of our everyday life as well.
Hope allows us to stay positive and have a bright outlook on the future. It allows us to stay positive and believe that good things are going to happen, even when life is not quite going the way that we want it to go.
Inspiration allows us to be open to new possibilities, go above and beyond our normal experiences and crush the limitations that we once set for ourselves. Just like in sports, we often look towards role-models to serve as a source of inspiration in our everyday life. For me, my source of inspiration comes from my parents. Following their example, I was able to accomplish things that I never dreamed were possible, including graduating from a university in TCDS (That City Down South).
Celebration allows us to pause and acknowledge accomplishments, something that is often no longer done in today’s fast-paced world that we live in. Whether it is something large like buying a new home or something small like completing a new workout at the gym, it is important to take a moment to acknowledge what we have achieved.
Sports are important because it gives us examples of these things and teaches us how to channel them into things that we partake in outside of sports. Sports is also important because it allows us to escape the mundane reality of life and travel to a place where life’s problems can’t seem to reach us.
That’s why I love taking new people to FC Cincinnati games. The atmosphere, the excitement and the play on the field allow them to have a feeling a hope, serves as a source of inspiration and allows them to celebrate things both big and small. It allows everyone to unite and come together, while forgetting about everything else that is going on outside of Nippert Stadium.
In 2018, my mother, father, aunt, and several of my friends got to experience their first FC Cincinnati game. In 2019, I plan on taking even more new people, including my 90-year-old grandmother who says she wants to be able to hear The Bailey all the way from general admission without her hearing aid. I want them to be able to experience the power of sports for themselves. Taking them to an FC Cincinnati game is definitely a gift worth giving. When I can’t go to matches with friends or loved ones, I try to give my tickets to individuals that aren’t often able to make it to games, to give the gift of sports to those who may not get to experience it that often.
That’s why I believe supporting organizations like Sports Games for Kids is important. Sports Games for Kids is a non-profit organization whose mission is to share the joy of professional and collegiate sporting events with children facing hardships in their young lives. This gives these kids an opportunity to experience things such as hope, inspiration and celebration, an opportunity that they might not otherwise have. As they say on their website, “The game may only last a few hours, but the memories we make last a lifetime”. To learn more about how you can give the gift of sport and the different ways that you can help support this wonderful organization, visit their website.
My challenge to you is to give the gift that is sport throughout the upcoming season. Whether that is taking someone to their first FC Cincinnati match so they can experience all the same emotions that you experienced during your first match, or giving to an organization like Sports Games for Kids. The gift that you give might just go further than the game that takes place on the field.