The Intangibles: Signing off

by Camilla Samuel

I’ve written about sports for four years now. I joined the Daily’s sports section as a freshman, first taking on game recaps as most early writers do. Eventually I edited, wrote features and started this column. I spent a year as a podcaster. Every year at Tufts, through thick and thin, I have always returned to my desk to write about sports. I’ve approached organized sports from every angle. I’ve broken down trades, given fantasy advice, previewed playoffs and even tried my hand at power rankings.

But it was once I was robbed of sports that I began to shift my perspective. The pandemic changed my entire approach to sportswriting. The shuttering of professional leagues made me realize how deeply I care about the presence of sports in my life. And the slow, oftentimes surreal, return of the NFL draft and the NBA bubble allowed me to understand what made sports so special to me. It was then that I began harnessing the space my column provided to think deeper about the role sports play in our lives.

Sports are one of our most inherently human fixtures in society. They ebb and flow seemingly parallel to the events of our ever-more-warped world. They are never a perfect escape, oftentimes reminding us that hardship is never avoidable. It’s hard to ignore the scores of empty seats in 2020’s once-packed ballparks, or the absence of certain nations from Olympic events intended to bring the entire world together. But what’s truly special to me is the perseverance of sports through these challenges. The leagues that run them are sprawling corporate machines that seemingly stop for nothing, sure, but there’s a degree of comfort in knowing even they are never immune to the human condition. We screw up and fail to impose justice. Teams and players will cheat and taint their legacies. Sports can often remind us how much of a mess we all are.

But for every moment that hurts to watch, there’s a million more to remind us there’s hope. Beautiful moments happen at a seemingly breakneck pace across every major sports league, but they never cheapen one another. Every highlight play, momentous upset or championship ring brings joy to untold millions. Beautiful moments in sports never wear out their welcome but instead live on for generations to be revisited countless times. I find myself revisiting moments I never even witnessed or lived through again and again, basking in the unmistakable warmth they provide. 

If there’s one thing four years with The Tufts Daily has taught me, it’s that there is no cap to how, when or what you enjoy about the advent of sports. From the most casual of pickup games to the biggest professional stages, and everything in between, there is limitless joy to be had. I hope my writing, and the writing of all my peers here at the sports section, can be a small part in aiding you to find that joy.