What Dallas Braden misses most about sports during coronavirus hiatus


Editor's note: Like you, Bay Area athletes and NBC Sports Bay Area insiders, reporters and analysts are feeling the sports void during the coronavirus stoppage. They'll share their thoughts twice a week in "What I Miss About Sports." Next up in the series: Former A's pitcher and current NBC Sports California analyst Dallas Braden.

What I miss about sports: The sounds, the smells, the physical vibration brought on by joyous eruption and devastating heartbreak.

These are just a few things that can teleport us from the monotonous reality of “everyday life” and provide a fantastical distraction or escape into a dream world.

We forge memories that stand the test of time, with sport. We learn life lessons, how to handle failure, how to enjoy success and how to balance the two harmoniously. We are challenged as athletes and fans alike to weather storms we didn’t forecast.

An injury, a losing streak or just a bad game. We ALL feel it TOGETHER. I miss the challenge. I miss the test each day brings.

“Have you prepared?” Whether it’s a kickass tailgate party or studying in the film room or weight room, we’ve prepared for the test ... however, right now, it feels as if there is no test to take. No preparation to be had. This is just simply not the case.

Sport prepares us to clear obstacles we never saw coming. We know our opponent. We know what our job is and we each know what role we can play. Sport gives us that. We know we have each other. You know that I will hold the rope in my hands, even as it burns, and the grip will only tighten.

YOU know that because I know it to be true of you as well. Sport gives us that. I can depend on you and you on me, in our most vulnerable time, because we have learned that the effort of a pack far exceeds that of a lone wolf.

[RELATED: Braden recalls 2010 perfect game]

I miss the straight, cold edge of truth that sport cuts with. There are winners, there are losers, yes. There are also infinite opportunities to challenge YOURSELF and your teammates to reach your pinnacle. When we compete against each other, we make each other better. We DEMAND more of each other.

We also know that should we fall, the open arms of our teammates will be there to embrace us no matter how hard or steep the crash may be. Sport gives us that. As we stand facing this obstacle, I am reassured, looking to my left and right, seeing the faces of you, my teammates.

I know we’re gonna be OK. Why? Because I’ve been the underdog before, and so have you. Because I’ve been told “it’s gonna be tough” and so have you ... I know we’re gonna ok, why? Because we’ve faced obstacles before and with the help of our teammates, we’ve navigated those obstacles and found our victories! Sport taught us that.

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