By Jeremy O’Neill
Things change quickly in the sports world. The Warriors used to be good. Marcus Mariota used to be the next big thing in football. Sewanee beat LSU. (Well, maybe that wasn’t that recent.) The point is, no amount of 70’s throwback uniforms can make the past particularly relevant in the current sports world. Players retire or get in a slump, and others step up to become the next big thing. So we, as sports fans, must enjoy the brief moments of success our favorite teams or players earn, as we do not often realize how quickly the thrill of victory can transform into the agony of defeat.
On the subject of change, I must acknowledge what a great honor it is to succeed Richard Pryor III as The Sewanee Purple’s sports editor. RP3 has served as a friend and mentor for me both on and off of the Purple staff, and I know other staff members will miss his passion for a variety of topics and remarkable intelligence. I look forward to reading “Pryor Inquires” for the rest of this semester, and count that column as yet another sports related institution we should enjoy while it lasts. (Take note, Patriots fans. Your Brady days may be numbered…)
The current time period is a great one to live in the moment as an athlete or just someone who appreciates athletics. Melbourne is hosting the 108th Australian Open over the next two weeks, and the headlines once again revolve around the “Big Three” of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal and how long they can stay at the top of the tennis world. Athletes like Roger Federer play the game as beautifully and gracefully as any professional tennis player in history. Yet his age is no longer becoming just a number, as the clock is ticking on his 38 year-old joints and muscles.
This is spring is also the senior season for some great Sewanee athletes who will be leaving the domain and their athletic legacies come May. This semester provides an opportunity to watch their years of hard work as they don the purple and gold one last time.
Finally, with the NFL and NHL facing concussion crises, Major League Baseball trying to sell a three hour game to the social media generation, and the rise of ESports, one must ask how much longer we have to enjoy sports as we know them today.
Note: In the final hours of editing of The Sewanee Purple, the world received news of the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. When I announced this to the Purple staff, every member of the staff was saddened. There are few athletes who receive recognition even by those who have never watched a professional basketball game. Kobe has also been elevated to the status of celebrities who only need one name: Elvis, Gandhi, Kobe. Bryant changed The City of Angels, basketball, and all of sports. I personally am one of the millions thankful to have seen him play live, and hope to have enjoyed it while it lasted.