“Sports has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sports can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”

These words speak to my soul. These words remind me exactly why we all love sports. People don’t love sports for one simple reason. We love sports for a million reasons unique to our personal experiences. We love sports for all that they represent in our lives. We love sports because of the memories they hold—the days spent at the ballpark with our families and the friendships we formed with our first teammates.

We love sports because while they can be defined by rules and regulations, they allow us to be free in a way that could never be described. We love sports for the endorphins and the sweat and the smiles, and even for the blood and the tears.

We love sports because they allow us to escape the norm and feel as extraordinary as our favorite athletes. We love sports because we love having fun—whether we have athletic ability or not. We love little leagues, church leagues, and beer leagues. We love to watch sports on TV, listen to them on the radio, and sweat in the sun to watch from the stadium.

We love sports because they bring people of every race and religion together, despite differing sport or team allegiances. We love sports because a conflict on the field ends once you walk off the field, unlike the conflicts we face in our everyday lives. We love sports because they unite us instead of dividing us. No one bats an eye when a Bears fan sits with a Packers fan to enjoy a brew and a friendly argument.

We love sports because they break more than just racial barriers. Sports question gender roles and assess morality and fairness. We love sports because we love heroes. We love underdogs. We love competition—friendly or not. We love sports because nothing else can bring representatives from every country to the same place for a common cause.

We love sports because of the impact one special coach made on our life. We love sports because we want to impact someone else’s life, too. We love sports because they bring out the best in us. Sports make us courageous, confident, and strong. We love sports because they teach us about perseverance, hard work, and the value of both winning and losing.

We love sports because we love development and growth. We love the timelessness of a game and we love the modern modifications that force us to accept change. We love sports because age, size, gender, and race mean nothing and everything at the same time.

We love sports because they belong to all of us. We love the smell of a freshly mowed football field and a brand new leather glove. We love the wind on our face during a sprint and the chill of Gatorade down our back after a big win. We love sports not because of what they are, but because of what they made us. We love sports because we all want the power to change the world, to inspire and unite people.