There are moments in our lives that are overwhelming emotionally. Weddings, births and various milestones are all legitimate reasons to become overwhelmed with positive emotion. For some us, sports can generate that kind of emotion. Not all sports and not all events - and certainly not the same events for all people - but there are a few that resonate across the ages for each of us that count sports as an important part of their lives.
For me, the first such event I remember clearly was the 1980 Miracle on Ice. Watching the game at the time was thrilling. We beat the Soviets. WE BEAT THE SOVIETS! It was a miracle and Al Michaels captured the moment brilliantly.
At the time, though, it wasn't an emotional event. Later, looking back on it 5-10 years later it was an emotional win. It meant more later than it did at the time. Maybe it is the passage of time that makes us look back on the perceived simpler time of our childhoods, though I think that is the easy answer.
I think a part of it is that nostalgia but also a growing appreciation for the event and its times. The magnitude of the accomplishment. As the years go by, the accomplishment isn't diminished in the prism of time but it is magnified. As time travels and the feat isn't duplicated, it's magnitude grows and its impact on the individual deepens.
As I sit watching "Secretariat" on cable (its not like we don't own two copies ourselves...), I think about every single time I watch the 1973 Belmont and hear Chic Anderson erupt "He's moving like a tremendous machine" and how I tear up every time. The accomplishment was so extraordinary. So unworldly. I THINK about the moment and I get emotional. The same watching the American boys celebrate on the ice in 1980. Another watching the 2004 Red Sox become the "champions of the baseball world" after 86 years of frustration and heartbreak.
These may not be your moments, but as a sports fan, you have your own, I'm sure of it. These moments land on our own timelines and become our own personal milestones; markers of time that let us remember greatness and bookmark the most extraordinary athletic moments of our lives.
Ultimately, they are happy moments. Moments that you can look back on and draw strength and inspiration from, especially in times that are less than stellar. Use them to remember, to laugh, to cry to drive you to excellence in aspects of your own life; to make you transcend the divisiveness and acrimony that seems to slat and pepper each day lately.
Let it take you back and take you away. You'll be glad you did.