Pitch, set, pass, spike, kick, drive, serve or shoot

Published 8:33 am Saturday, August 19, 2017

Editorial by Bobby Tingle


Are you a sports fan?

Van Wade, sports editor of The Orange Leader, affectionately refers to his workmates as ‘sports fans’. He is not biased in his opinion of his co-workers, he isn’t trying to prejudice their predisposition to games of sport, but he does know that deep down inside we all have strong feelings about our games.

His co-workers prove the theory; some could not care less about sports, expressing those strong feelings from deep down in their soul. Ultimately sports are a waste of time and energy.

That is, until they have a ‘tiny hiney’ or two on the field or on the court.

Then they transform from their fanatical, going to the extreme of completely ignoring all manner of gamesmanship between boys and girls to exalting their ‘tiny hiney’ to stardom.

On the other hand, there is the other end of the fanatical spectrum. Some are predisposed to strong opinions about each and every sport, choosing to align with specific teams or schools and more importantly against a whole host of teams or schools.

But in the end, what is sports?

In many cases it involves something round or oblong filled with air or some variety of spongy, corky material. In either case, the internal composition is designed to propel it when the proper force is exerted against it and gravity. The idea being to make it go in the direction you want it, whether past your competitors in fair territory on the gym floor or into an end zone.

But, of course, opponents are equally motivated to prevent those outcomes. The objectives change for other sports but generally it boils down to being more proficient than your opponent.

Certainly not all sports involve round and oblong objects. Some athletes compete in water, on stages, on mats or running with the wind.

Andy Griffith recorded some years ago a comedic description of one sport titled ‘What it was, was football’. Abbott and Costello provided another opportunity for comedic relief with their routine, ‘Who’s on first?. Sports fanatics on both ends of the fanatical spectrum can enjoy these classics.

So, why do sports fans love to see round or oblong objects kicked, set, spiked, passed, caught, thrown, served, driven or fumbled?

Some consider these events a pass time. But some are more passionate in the sports world. They see sports as more like a religion, exalting their favorite team’s arena of competition to hallowed ground status, where all true fanatics must travel to engage in the worship.

As you read this, ‘little leaguers’ are competing for the coveted title of Little League World Series Champions. The final teams are competing in a tournament that began August 17 and will conclude August 27.

Local high schools began Volleyball matches August 8, football fields will be filled with fans, event staff, bands, drill teams, mascots, flag teams, players and coaches on September 1. Following on their heels will be a whole host of basketball, track, golf, tennis, powerlifting, soccer and softball athletes competing for their coveted titles.

Either you are fascinated by the pitcher batter duel on a baseball field or you are not. Either young men blocking captivate you, blocking and tackling on a striped field with Andy Griffith’s ‘convicts’ officiating or they not. Either you are captivated by set, spike and score or return and try it again or you are not. Either hitting a small, dimpled ball in an open field with a driver or iron into a small hole captivates you or it does not.

One local group, Make It Happen Orange, went so far as to organize a ‘Neighborhood Olympics’ where anyone could challenge any one to a foot race. It was all in fun and bringing people together to laugh and enjoy each other’s company in friendly competition.

Ultimately, sports are all about fun, entertainment and getting up off the couch and moving around and keeping those muscles, lungs and heart working stronger and longer.

Let the games and the fun begin!


Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. You can reach him at bobby.tingle@orangeleader.com