Rubado column: Why are sports important?

The following is an opinion column written by an Echo Press editorial staff member. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press.

Rubado Column Mug
Jared Rubado

The NHL playoffs started last weekend, which means my life expectancy takes a hit three to four times a week watching the Minnesota Wild.

While I won't sit here and say I have a favorite sport, I'm a hockey guy. My favorite part about this job is covering hockey. It was the only sport I played in high school, and most of my friends from back home are former teammates.

My dad isn't shy about claiming hockey as his favorite sport. He sits in his chair for every Wild game and cheers the same amount for every goal. He appreciates the other three professional sports teams in Minnesota, but nowhere near as much as he loves the Wild.

The Stanley Cup playoffs are something else. Whether you're a fan of the sport or not, it's action that raises your heart rate with every second in each game. In my opinion, there is no better playoff viewing experience than hockey.

I'm writing this as the Wild are tied in a seven-game series at 1-1 with the Las Vegas Golden Knights. The first two games of the series have reassured me that I won't be growing hair on the top of my head again. Each game feels like a different ride at the amusement park. Sometimes you get chills with the ultimate excitement, while other times, you want to vomit.


I'm not going to make any predictions for the Wild. I'm going to do my best and enjoy my favorite team playing playoff hockey again. Which is kind of what the essence of sports has become for fans.

Not to get political, but there's a slim chance you and I agree on everything. We have fundamental disagreements on various things that make up our current political, social and spiritual landscape. If you ever feel like there's an elephant in the room, you're not alone.

I can understand why people don't like sports. They're trivial in a way. Grown adults playing games for millions of dollars only to have other adults obsess over them? Yeah, it's a weird concept on its surface. But sports are so much more than that.

I can walk into a bar right now with a person that would hate my guts if we talked politically, and my perception of them would be the same. But if we're just two people catching the game on the TV, we have common ground. Sports aren't about winners and losers at the end of the day. It's about the conversation.

The discussions, arguments and praises between fans drive the passion. Playing armchair quarterback when you haven't touched a football since the ninth grade is a right of passage as a fan. The ultimate highs of winning contrasted by the depths of losing allow you to feel something that doesn't impact yourself. It's not life or death, but it's fun to believe in something.

I've enjoyed conversations about sports with people I wouldn't typically talk to this week. It's been a tough year for a lot of people. For some, it's been longer than a year. Things like sports, movies, music and other realms of entertainment allow you to put hard times aside, even if it's only temporary.

This is a weekly column written by Jared Rubado.

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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