Nostalgic for a world of sports normalcy


Illustration by Evie De Rubertis

Jaidev Pant

On a mundane Tuesday afternoon during spring break, we both found ourselves sick of binge-watching Netflix shows and were looking for something new. After all, quarantine left us with nothing to do, and that emptiness was only heightened during this time off.

However, as we walked down into our living rooms, miles away from each other, we were both immediately connected, glued to the television screen to watch Game Seven of the infamous Celtics vs. Lakers 2010 NBA Finals. It’s a game nearly any Los Angeles sports fan can remember. As we tuned in, we felt the return of our childhoods, when we played on our mini hoops and yelled “Kobe” before shooting the ball. We imagined “California Gurls” by Katy Perry blaring in the background as we recalled the famous Lakers parade.

More than that, it seemed like those same Lakers fans who celebrated were feeling a sense of nostalgia, for both their championship and for the late Kobe Bryant who led them to victory. It seemed like sports were back, even just for a short moment.

Now, as many weeks have gone by and the reruns have been long overplayed, we, along with 6.1 million people all around the country, find ourselves entranced by “The Last Dance,” the 10-part ESPN documentary about the last season of the Chicago Bulls dynasty during the 1990s. Even though it is a documentary, it gives that same thrill of watching live sports,  because the details of the documentary are all new to us. Despite the fact that we have never actually watched Michael Jordan’s Bulls in person, we still feel that level of nostalgia that our parents do. The documentary reminded us of something greater—the love we share for the game of basketball.

In fact, when we saw Scottie Pippen and Jordan pressuring opponents the entire game in a full court press, we both texted each other immediately. It had reminded us of our freshman basketball days and the lethal 2-2-1 press that we would use to pester opponents all game.

We then went on to recall that season, when our biggest worry was whether or not we had worn the right gameday outfit or had remembered to bring our team basketball shoes. During those days, we would complain about how hot it was inside of Hamilton Gym as we ran suicides, waiting to go home and take a shower. Little did we know that one day, the gym would be locked until further notice and we’d be begging to leave our homes.

Sports have the ability to take us back to a time of pure joy, a time where all the stresses we feel as high school students disappear into thin air. They have the ability to bring us together with people that we may have forgotten along the way and bring smiles to our faces. As it becomes more and more of a reality that professional sports will eventually return, we ask you to appreciate sports in a way that you never have before. Remember the time that reruns of a regular season game were your only form of entertainment. Remember the time that you dribbled a basketball all around your house out of desperation. As you watch the sporting events in the near future, take a moment to soak it all in, even if there will be no fans in attendance.

In the end,  we have learned that the gift of live sports can be taken away any second and we cannot take them for granted.