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Amy Bass

  • Redemption is a key element of sport. That moment of “play again?” keeps us -- players and spectators alike -- engaged, wondering if the result will be different the next time and then the time after that.
  • On December 3, Green Bay handily took care of Kansas City, 27-19, on a typically blustery day on the gridiron at Lambeau Field. But the battle between the Packers and the Chiefs paled in comparison to the competing headlines regarding the women on the sidelines: Taylor’s boyfriend versus Simone’s husband, and the fact that none of that felt misogynistic or demeaning pretty much summarizes this past year in sport.
  • “It feels like a fairy tale,” a friend said to me, mere seconds after the Lewiston High School boys’ soccer team clinched Maine’s Class A North championship title and secured a spot in Saturday’s state championship final. Indeed, the 1-0 win, with the lone goal coming from a brilliantly timed cross that Caden Boone got an aggressive head on, did not just feel like one more step in the city’s healing journey. It felt like a celebration.
  • It was a heck of a weekend in sports. Most of my attention focused on Simone Biles landing the Yurchenko Double Pike, now called the Biles II, on the vault in Antwerp and the sheer dominance of the American women as they got started at the world championships. For those of you who like to count things, that’s the fifth element named for Biles: one on beam, two on floor, and now a second on vault.
  • The history of sport is filled with bloopers and blunders, mistakes that still make us shake our heads in disbelief. In 1919, the Red Sox (you knew I was going to start there) sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. In 1968, NBC switched from a 32-29 Jets versus Oakland game to an airing of the classic film Heidi, meaning viewers missed the final minute of play, in which Oakland scored twice to win by 10.
  • I now have entered, as I do each year (when the Red Sox have failed me), what I consider to be the dark season of my sports fandom. The U.S. Open, my favorite of any sports event, is over and football, which I personally cancelled years ago, is back so hard that Coco Gauff woke up Sunday to nary a word about herself on ESPN’s home page -- and ESPN covered the event.
  • August is a complicated month for me. In the first few weeks, I head to Cape Cod, spending time with family and friends on the beach, enjoying sunny days and increasingly brisk nights, eating lobster rolls and watching meteor showers. As the month ends, it’s back to school, which for me means back to the office and the classroom, the flurry of writing syllabi and prepping for courses mitigated by the joy of reconnecting with students and colleagues.
  • In a few weeks, the U.S. Women’s National Team will begin its quest for yet another World Cup title, and the countdown clock on Megan Rapinoe’s career will begin, as she has confirmed that her fourth World Cup will, indeed, be her last.
  • I talk a lot about being a fan. In my Ethics in Sport class at Manhattanville College, by far the most popular course offered in the Sport Studies major, we spend several weeks trying to figure out how to be a good fan. A moral fandom, sport ethicists tell us, requires us to be temperate with our support, demonstrating respect for the opponent, demanding fair and practiced play from both sides, and, perhaps most of all, celebrating excellence -- all excellence -- when it happens. To be sure, it’s not easy to be a moderate partisan of sport, a good fan. Sure, no one wants to be that maniacal person who cheers when someone on the other team gets injured or sits on their hands when the opposing goalie makes an amazing save.
  • Commencement this year felt a little extra. To be sure, riding alongside students as they journey their way through college is an honor and a privilege; it is, I often say, my “why.” But it is also a lot of work -- exhausting, painstaking, work. By the time the actual graduation ceremony rolls around, I’ve been grading nonstop for days and working closely with marvelous and meticulous colleagues in the dean’s office to make sure every last box is checked and each student’s pathway across the stage before family and friends, degree in hand, is assured.