By Kyle Smith, Sports Editor
Sports have always been a very big part of my life. Throughout my childhood, I gave almost every sport that I could a chance, and was even a varsity athlete throughout high school. This has made sports a very impactful and important part of my life, and I recently took a moment to appreciate everything sports have done for me. I made many of my lifelong friends through playing sports during my childhood, and when I got to college, I made even more through having a mutual interest in sports and routing for the same teams as others.
For many people, coming to college can be an extremely anxious and frightening experience, as you are entering a completely unfamiliar environment, and for many people, they come to college without knowing a single person on campus. If you feel like you can relate to this feeling or experience, then one way to make friends and socialize with people is to give sports a try.
Whether it’s through joining an intramural team or simply just being a fan, sports can be a common ground between you and a complete stranger that could lead to a potential friendship off of just this one thing in common. I find sports to be much more fun in groups. I have sat in my living room alone yelling at my television out of frustration, and I have cheered in a living room with good friends as my team makes a big play or shoots a crazy three-pointer, and when you’re around other people who share the same passion for an organization that you do, it creates a sense of community and belonging that I think is extremely valuable.
When I came to Oneonta, I was very fortunate to have already had friends from home who went to school here. This certainly made move-in day much less stressful than it could’ve been, but it also led me to a crossroads. I could come here and stick with the few friends that I already had, or I could branch out and try to make more friends and meet new people. There was one night when I tagged along with one of my friends to go to his friend’s house to watch the Knicks game. At this time, I was not a Knicks fan, and I wasn’t even really a fan of basketball. But I went anyway because I knew that I wanted to meet new people and make more friends. Throughout the first quarter, I watched these people who I didn’t know yell and scream at the TV out of frustration or excitement, and I will admit at first I found it to be a little ridiculous, but by the end of the first half, I found myself screaming and yelling along with them. For the rest of that semester, I watched every Knicks game that I could with them and now the sports team that I am the most passionate about is the New York Knicks.
It sounds silly to say that I made some of my best friends through a basketball game, but that is the honest truth. I went into an unfamiliar environment with no real interest in basketball and walked out a die-hard Knicks fan. Sports have a way of evoking emotions in you that you would never think possible, and through that emotion, they build communities and friendships.