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George Ferguson Column: Sports always help me celebrate Independence Day

From The Fringe...


What does the Fourth of July mean to you?

That’s an interesting question we hear often this time of year.

For me, it’s evolved over the years.

Obviously, there was a time when the Fourth of July was about fireworks and barbecues, hot dogs and hot sun.

Over the years, that’s changed for me. At least the fireworks aspect of it anyway. That’s because I’m a Lab owner, and anyone will tell you, Labs hate fireworks. They’re terrified of them, even if they’re hunting dogs. It’s just the way it is. So, I’ll admit, I gave up my love of fireworks a long time ago.

And this coming from a kid whose family once owned the Golden Dragon stands in Havre.

Of course, getting older also means you grow to appreciate, understand and care about what the Fourth of July represents. Simply put, it’s the anniversary of our nation becoming just that, a nation. It’s the celebration of our independence, and no matter what your political beliefs are, no matter how you, I or anyone feels about just about anything right now, the fact that this day, today is America’s birthday, should mean something to all of us.

It does to me, and it always will, even if I don’t like Black Cats and Saturn Missile Batteries anymore.

However, again, the older I get, the feelings I have around Independence Day continue to evolve, and mostly, these days, my thoughts always turn back around to sports.

I can’t help it, that’s my job, that’s my world.

And right now, on this July Fourth, 2019, sports are once again on my mind.

That’s because sports are the great escape. They’re the great equalizer. They give you/me a chance to detach from stresses, difficulties and problems. They give us a chance to see the world through different eyes. Sports give us the opportunity to enjoy something unconditionally.

And that’s what I’m making sure I do on this Independence Day.

I’m enjoying things like playing golf with my friends, and my wife. I’m enjoying things like being able to go down to the tennis courts and teach my players how to hit a better serve or a crisp, two-handed backhand.

I’m really enjoying watching the U.S. Women’s National Team on the verge of winning another World Cup. I love this time of year because of Wimbledon.

I’m enjoying watching the Havre Northstars have a strong season, and root for them to continue on all the way through the state tournament.

Yes, as we reach another Fourth of July, sports continue to be at the forefront of my exsistence. I just can’t help myself. I love it. I love everything about sports. I even still love the Chicago Cubs, even though they’re going through a really bad, sometimes embarrassing, slump right now.

And that’s the point. That’s the point of tying the Fourth of July to sports, for me anyway. Because I can’t imagine having to have grown up in a different life, one where sports aren’t what they are here in America. Now, I’m certainly not saying sports in America are perfect, because they’re absolutely not, and they never will be.

But, the fact of the matter is, I was lucky enough to be born in a country where sports were available to me, in a country where sports have been a deep-rooted part of our fabric. And while I know sports aren’t for everybody, and certainly, not every American feels the way I do about sports, that’s completely fine, I do still take this day, our Independence Day, to appreciate what I have, and that’s a country where I get to be a sports-loving, sports-crazy lunatic, and it’s totally acceptable.

So, on this day, I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for having sports in my life, as my chosen profession, and, as my main source of entertainment, and escape. I can’t imagine it any other way.

And while I’m not sure our founding fathers ever saw America becoming the sports center of the universe when they signed the Declaration of Independence, I’m sure glad they signed that scroll regardless.

Happy Birthday America.


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