I’ll argue until I’m blue in the face with anyone who wants to say that “sports don’t matter.” For reasons on complete opposite ends of the spectrum, this last week showed just how much sports really do matter, and the pure emotions it can cause.
Just over a week ago, news broke of the Kobe Bryant helicopter tragedy. Absolutely shocking. For me personally, it was the first time I think I truly was affected by the passing of a celebrity. I always take note when someone famous passes away, but it’s never been someone that I’ve personally held in such high regard. Kobe was that guy for me. Hands down, Kobe was, is, and probably forever will be, my favorite athlete of all time. He had this aura of confidence — many would call it cockiness — about him, and this constant belief that he was better than you. And if he maybe wasn’t better than you, you better believe he was going to outwork you.
On the court, he had a killer instinct, and a fluidity to his game that is still so rare to see. After his retirement, he seemed to become much more humble, and tried to stay out of the spotlight. He wanted that spotlight turned towards other people — to the next generation of basketball stars, and more importantly, to his kids and the girls he coached in youth basketball.
The outpouring of support and mourning across the world has been amazing to see. Buildings around the globe, lit up in purple and gold. Basketball courts and random murals, quickly painted worldwide to memorialize Kobe and his daughter. It hasn’t just been the basketball community that’s been affected, virtually every sport has found a way to memorialize Kobe. It’s truly been something to behold.
Fast forward just seven short days. The Kansas City Chiefs have won the Super Bowl. Since Nebraska doesn’t have a professional football team, the Chiefs seem to be the adopted hometown team — although, obviously, there’ still a ton of Bears, Vikings, Packers fans in the area.
For me personally, I’ve always enjoyed rooting for the Chiefs. Now, I’ll admit, I won’t pretend to be some die-hard fan who lives and dies with the results of their games every weekend. But, I sure as heck am not some bandwagon fan who just suddenly decided this would be a cool team to root for this year.
To see a team so close to home, who I pull for, and have attended many games of, bring home a championship, was almost surreal. It was extremely cool to see head coach Andy Reid win a Super Bowl. He’s so highly regarded within the sport and seems to be a genuinely good person. He deserves to be known as a champion, and congratulations to the entire Chiefs Kingdom.
One short week, two emotional Sundays, on complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Rest in peace, Kobe. I know I’ll never forget you.
Chris Rhoades is the associate publisher for Enterprise Media Group.