So here it is; my final article for the Daily Nexus. I was pretty stumped on what to write about and how to write it. In the past when I didn’t know what to write on, I’d choose something that I am very passionate about, usually in-depth baseball articles. However, I thought that my last article required a broader topic with a little bit more of a grandiose style. So I was thinking about trying to incorporate my graduation, and subsequent departure from UCSB, into an article about sports. So here it is.
Last week I wrote an article on the New York Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera. I discussed his announcement that he will retire after this season, and that he leads the American League with 18 saves at the age of 43. That article made me realize that I’m at a point in my life where I am seeing the turnover from one sports generation to the next. Very soon the days of Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, Tom Brady, Kevin Garnett and Mariano Rivera, among so many others, will be gone.
If I were younger when I realized that the sports generation that I grew up idolizing was leaving, I would have been devastated. I would have resisted such a monumental change to my world. I would have found myself desperately holding on to all of the observations, beliefs and feelings on players, teams and strategies that I had just witnessed retire. Then I finally realized that these observations, beliefs and feelings were outdated. My fantasy league rosters, sports video game performance and everyday sports arguments were slowly withering. I can’t watch and form intelligent opinions on today’s sports with the same observations, beliefs and feelings that I have gathered from the previous generation.
So here is the epiphany. The reason why I love sports and why they are truly genuine is because sport and competition is progress. Humans are imperfect, so we love to see the pursuit toward it. We are attracted to perfection. Sport and competition is the constant struggle for perfection — the struggle to beat everyone and to be on top. The sports world is run by the Goliath dynasties who write the history books through their success, but it is the underdog that we need. The underdog is the progress, the player/team/idea that upsets the status quo and keeps the sports world going. I have learned to embrace the new and young with the knowledge of our past. Don’t try to maintain success or become complacent; always get better because everyday there is an underdog working to beat you.
So in light of graduation, don’t fear or be saddened by leaving UCSB; keep it alive and build on your experience. Don’t be complacent with the thought that UCSB was the lone high point in your life and everything is downhill from here. Live for the pursuit, and for the good times yet to come. Don’t be sad it’s over. Be happy it happened. If we can do that, we can give leaving UCSB, Isla Vista, our new friends and all of our memories a purpose.
A version of this article appeared on page 8 of May 29th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Kenneth Song of the Daily Nexus.