Hunter Atkins on Why Sports Reporting Matters

Hunter Atkins has worked as a sports reporter for many years and truly loves what he does. That’s why it always upsets him when he hears people say that sports don’t matter or that sports reporting isn’t essential. While sports may not seem to have the same global impact as wars, elections, and other issues, their effect on the lives of the average person shouldn’t be ignored or downgraded.

Why Sports Reporting Matters

Every year, the same kind of talk from the same type of people. Angst against the attention the Super Bowl and other major sporting events receive is basically a new pastime for many and has started to gain traction. Some have advocated taking the money spent on sports and investing in things like cleaner energy and other significant technological advances.

While it is true that these movements do need more money, it isn’t fair to target only sports. That’s because sports provide a real benefit to most people’s lives by providing an essential distraction from the challenges of the world. While a fan is cheering on their favorite sports team, they’re ignoring their life’s problems and can focus on connecting with them in many ways.

That’s something Hunter Atkins has seen heavily over the years: a stronger bond of togetherness through sports. People define their communities in many ways, including in political, religious, and career fields. That’s understandable and is just part of how people interact. However, sports can transcend these boundaries and bring people together like nothing else beyond national identity.

For example, it’s not uncommon to see steelworkers arm in arm with lawyers in Pittsburgh bars cheering on the Steelers. That’s because these fans have invested emotionally in these teams’ successes and created a community of support around them. That’s nothing to laugh at: it not only crosses cultural and economic boundaries but gender categories.

As a result, reporters not only report on sports but make sense of what is happening in the world. Good sports reporters can put athletic events in the proper context, highlight why they matter, and track various social trends. Just as importantly, they provide up-to-date information that people genuinely care about in their lives.

For example, the huge news that the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in over 100 years was more than just a sports footnote. Reporters highlighted how much the world had changed between their championship wins, which provided a unique context that many didn’t realize. It also put history more in the minds of the general public, which helped them better understand their place in it and the world around them.

So, while the idea that sports are nothing but “bread and circuses” or a distraction from reality does have some weight, they also miss the point. The world needs distractions and needs something important that unifies entire communities and even nations. Sports and sports reporters provide that service and ensure that communities around the nation and the world have a stronger sense of self.

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