More Than Just a Game

As sports fans, we hate when others say, “It’s just a game.” If it was just a game, we obviously wouldn’t care this much.

They don’t understand the feeling of happiness we get when our team wins, or the disappointment and agony we feel when our team gets so close and comes up short.

They’ll never understand how we can get teary-eyed as we watch grown men run around the field like children after winning the championship, or understand how the same grown men can cry as they say goodbye to a kid’s game. 

What those people don’t understand, and maybe will never understand, is how something as simple as a game can mean so much to us.

I know at least for me, my favorite team is like a family, always there for you. Win or lose, you can always count on them to put back on the uniform and represent you and the millions of others. The fans are the same too; they’re part of the team, part of the family. They’re there for their team and cheering them on, through all the triumphs and the heartbreaks.

But after all the games, the press conferences, the articles and the media, sports still have the best opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life.

Take Braylon Beam for instance; a 6-year old boy who began a battle with chemotherapy after a brain tumor was discovered in February, when he began losing his sight.

Beam later appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” in May after receiving national attention for his #JustKeepDancing campaign, an idea that Braylon and his dad had, where they will dance their way through chemotherapy. The movement is now being used nationally to raise money for pediatric cancer.

On the show, Beam told Ellen that his goal was to one day coach for the Carolina Panthers, his favorite NFL team.  

Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Panthers, Beam got his wish. 

On Tuesday, the Carolina Panthers signed Beam to a one day contract to become their honorary head coach, as long as how Panthers GM Gettleman said, “you show the team your dance moves.” According to the Panthers organization, Beam was able to dance with his favorite players and participate in activities at practice, including telling Cam Newton to, “throw it deep.”

It’s things like this that make sports so unifying in it’s purest form. Being able to for one day, for one moment in a kid’s life, make a difference.

Because athletes and teams both know that they have the most loyal fans to cheer them on, but it’s nice to see that even these athletes and teams can be there to do the cheering, or in this case… dance.

Hopefully Beam had the day he will remember for the rest of his life. For a young kid to have to go through as much as he has, it’s nice to see how sports teams can make the pain and suffering go away, even if it is just for a couple hours of practice.

So yes, it is more than just a game.

In fact, it’s something much, much bigger.

By Michael Hernandez

Follow him on Twitter @SidelinedMike