The Impact of Sports On My Life By: Joe Bailey

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I have lived a life full of ups and downs, bad days and good days, but one thing has always been constant. That is my love for sports and the sports world. For as long as I can remember, my first true love was sports. All sports quite frankly. The first sport I played was soccer. I was five years old and the only reason I played was because of the snacks after the game. That isn’t where I fell in love with sports, but that is where the seed was planted.

If I had to pick one moment where I truly fell in love it would have to be at a Phillies game with my Uncle Mike when I was 10 years young. Although I am a Yankees fan I would not have traded this day for anything. It was a Mets Phillies game so as usual the atmosphere was amazing. Fans screaming for Rollins, Howard, Utley and Chooch, while those same fans were booing Wright and Reyes. I remember every single scent and sound. I remember Cole Hammels taking time to sign a baseball for me. I remember David Wright’s home run, followed by Rollins and Howard hitting homers. I remember the Phillies overcoming a 7-0 deficit to force what I soon learned to call it “free baseball”. I remember asking my uncle if I needed to call my mom  to come get us because he had a couple beers. But what I most remember is being in the 13th inning and not letting my uncle take us home. Then after Chris Coste hit the walk off, I remember wanting to watch more “free” baseball.

Over the course of the next years the love affair continued as I  began playing basketball, baseball, and football. I was not the best at basketball or even baseball but I was a damn good football player and that is why I love that the most. Football got me through my darkest and lowest point of my life. The summer going into my freshman year of high school something happened in my family that would change the course of my life forever. My mother had lost her job and my family chose that it was best to move from my childhood home to a new town and a new school. I was only 14 and I did not understand why this was happening, but I knew that it was happening. When the final day came and it was time to leave the house for good, all I could think about was watching the Yankees play the Reds. So instead of helping pack up my life I watched every pitch of every inning before it was time to leave for good. Throughout those next couple weeks even though I knew my days were numbered with my old life, I gained a new perspective on it all. The football team at my current high school was on a major come up and I wanted to be a large part of it. So while there was heartbreak, sadness, and a feeling of abandonment I had a goal. That goal was to play football for this team and win a state championship. Three long years later I was in a crowd of teammates at High Point Solutions Stadium after a 41-6 victory in the state finals securing our schools first state title. I ran to my family full of happy tears and I thanked them for all that they had done and that everything we went through was worth it.

The value of the sporting world is so very underappreciated. To think the impact of simple games can cause real change in people is crazy, but it’s true it happens all the time. It happened to me. After all that high school is winding down and I have a new passion. My passion is talking and writing about sports. So with that passion, and the drive that I had those years ago I sit here with a new goal. My goal is to call ballgames with the best of them. The last time I was told my dreams were unrealistic look what happened, so if you were a betting person I would most definitely NOT bet against me.

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