Sports are meaningless? Not in a million years

Published 6:00 am Thursday, October 18, 2018

Any time someone suggests that sports are meaningless or “just a game,” it gets me a little riled up. Even if it’s true on a certain level, it’s a statement that ignores all of what sports is and can entail.

On a personal level, sports are a way to challenge our boundaries, limits and mental toughness. Gritting through the end of a 5K run when you’re in last place, simply because you set it as a goal six weeks earlier, is as important to an individual as Game 7 of the World Series. It’s affirmation that you can do anything if you put in enough hard work and are determined to do it.

It’s learning the teamwork necessary to succeed, whether it’s a 40-year-old guy playing in a pickup basketball game at the YMCA or a 10-year-old playing on a softball or football team for the first time.

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Sports can bring divided cities and states together. Everybody smiles a little more when Mississippi State or Ole Miss wins a big game, no matter which one they root for the other 364 days of the year.

“Did you see the Saints/Bulldogs/Gators/Golden Eagles/Vikings game?” is a surefire icebreaker at any party.

Sports also can offer a way for communities to rally for a greater cause, as we’re seeing all over Warren County in the month of October.

Last weekend there were three separate events — the Over the River Run, Red Carpet Bowl Golf Tournament and Rip Tide Softball’s Strike Out Child Abuse Tournament — that benefited various organizations. Warren Central is having a “pink out” game for breast cancer awareness at this Friday night’s home football game against Clinton.

On Oct. 29, Hinds Community College will host its annual Monster Mash charity softball game in Raymond to benefit Batson Children’s Hospital. That’s only a smattering of events before the weather turns cold. There are dozens of other 5K and 10K runs, golf tournaments and the like scattered around the state.

For all of those events, and more, local corporate sponsors are chipping in thousands of dollars in cash, merchandise and labor to cover costs. That frees the money from entry fees and concessions to go directly to the various charities or groups.

As you can see, even if it’s just a game at that particular moment, sports is never “just a meaningless game.” It’s not a stretch to say it’s among the most meaningful things we can do.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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