Ian Hansen is a junior journalism news major and writes for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.
I will never take sports for granted again.
It seems like it was yesterday in July of 2019 when I was in Atlanta with my father watching the Atlanta Braves take on the Philadelphia Phillies on a blistering summer day. It didn’t stop me from arriving at the game two and a half hours prior to the game while waiting 30 minutes for the gates to open.
You may ask yourself why. Why would I possibly want to wait in 90-degree weather, two and a half hours prior to the game just to be in the sweltering heat to then sit in a stadium for three more hours for the game?
Well, I. Love. Baseball.
I love the environment of being at sporting events, and I feel like I am in my own universe at the ballpark.
Little did I know it would be my last Major League Baseball game for over a year. Little did I know it would be the last time I would get to have the summer tradition with my dad where we try to hit as many MLB stadiums as possible.
My dad left this world in October of 2020 and so did sports for a brief period of time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I found out about my father’s cancer the same week the National Basketball Association postponed its season due to a player testing positive.
It felt like I had multiple aspects of true joy ripped away from me from the palm of my hands. From March to about October of 2020 was one of, no, THE hardest time period of my life. The biggest lesson I gathered from this was to never take anything for granted. It’s the grand ole’ cliche, but it’s true.
Fast forward to April of 2021. The Indiana Pacers are playing the Charlotte Hornets. The NBA finally allowed fans to attend at minimal capacity, but I did not care. After the hardships of 2020, I was starving for live sports. The Pacers got destroyed, and I couldn’t have cared less because I was there. I was present, and it felt like life was finally giving me clarity that everything is okay.
The bottom line is, if you love sports, grasp every single moment of the normalcy and clarity it brings. Even if you are a fan of the worst teams, still support them because no matter the result, sports are an escape for me and always have been without me realizing it.
No, I won’t ever be able to attend a game with my dad again, but I can go to these events as a way to honor and remember him. I can use it to escape from the realities of an ongoing pandemic and other hardships of life.
Sometimes, you don’t realize how good something is until it is stripped away. That was exactly the case with going to the ballpark and watching a baseball game with my dad or going to the arena to watch a basketball game with mom.
Contact Ian Hansen with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ianh_2.