A couple of days ago I put down some brief thoughts on sports, and how their affect on our psyche seems unique in the modern age. Paul Hayward verbalizes this intimately in his Telegraph article, in which he relates how sport (one Lionel Messi performance, in particular) sustained him through intensive cancer treatments. His musings on the power of sport to sustain hope are personal and profound.
I thought about the time when I had triplet infants, all requiring bottle feeding every three hours around the clock, and the weeks spent watching game after game, match after match all night long as I rotated through the bottles, each round taking an hour-and-a-half. The situation was very different, but the need for endurance was present nonetheless, as was the need for company. The struggle of others on the field served as a proxy for my own. Their wins were my wins.
Bill Shankly, legendary Liverpool manager, put it aptly when he said "Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that."