As a child, I learned that making grandparents happy is awesome! I think my grandmother used to spoil me because I reminded her of my father. Also, because I knew the scores to all the American football games. She was a big fan and I was always prepared with an answer that made her beam with joy! Getting closer to my grandmother was smart too, because she was an amazing cook. As a result, I became much more interested in the American football and in sports in general.
In the following years, I’d spend countless weekends in the living room with my sister. We watched every big sporting event we could. Years later, we would take a trip to London to watch our favorite football team dismantle their rival. I remember the great fun we had on the trip, from celebrating my sister's birthday in Paris to nearly missing the match due to an unexpected rescheduling.
When I moved halfway across the world to Taipei, football helped me to settle in and make friends. One Saturday night, I walked into my favorite sports bar and spotted another guy wearing the colors of Arsenal, my favorite team. After brief introductions, my new friend Edwin and I settled into what fans do best...complaining about our team. A few years and a ton of matches later, I would make the trip to Hong Kong to meet his family and attend his wedding.
You see, sports is more than a game for me. It's a chance to relax and forget about the stresses of life for 2-3 hours. You can see the human spirit on full display, from the joy of victory to the finality of a crushing loss. Being in the company of others gives us a sense of community, belonging and shared experience. I've made countless friends through sports, because sports have the power to bring people together. Even in the middle of wars, pandemics and uncertainty, sport endures, because we can always look forward to a better tomorrow, together.