When the Hillside High School football team lost a late-season playoff game at the very last second (due to a botched call by a referee), the cold, damp October night in Durham, North Carolina quickly turned from triumph to despair.

This, it seems, is one of the great powers of sport: it gives us a relatively safe space to essentially practice our emotions. Team sports gives us a community with whom we can share in this practice. We are emotional creatures–it is a core and vital part of our existence. Sports give us a place to express this fundamental piece of our humanity.

Sports experiences such as this may indeed seem trivial compared to larger matters, but they are, I believe, an indispensable part of society. With the loss, Hillside fell one game short of playing in the NC state championship football game.

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