A few months back, I picked up the beat for Gannon University’s softball team at our school newspaper, The Gannon Knight. For the entirety of the softball season, I reported on the team.

The whole process left me with quite a few striking quotes, especially from Tom Jakubowski, the team’s amicable and wonderfully honest head coach, but one interview with a softball player was specifically memorable.

The team had just returned from a highly successful trip down to Florida, so I interviewed freshman catcher Katie Dunn for my story. Since the team was preparing for another out-of-state trip, I inquired about whether or not she was looking forward to eventually being able to play at home. Her response was refreshingly simple:

“Really, I just want to play.”

The words didn’t jump off the page at first as I wrote them into my notebook. “Of course she wants to play softball,” I thought to myself. Then, as I was walking back to the Knight office to write the story, it hit me – it’s about the love of the game.

Yes, home turf is comforting, but Dunn was just happy to be playing softball. It’s a sentiment that seems to be lost in sports at times. From the professional sports to the pickup floor hockey group I play in on Fridays, people can easily lose track of why they love playing sports. Instead of remembering to have fun, the game can become a huge hassle.

That’s why I appreciated covering the softball team in my last semester at Gannon – they never lost sight of why they play sports. Despite the numerous injuries and tough competition in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, they still had fun. They weren’t a team; they were a family, cheering on their fellow Knights with coordinated chants personalized for the different players on the team.

My last article in the Knight was the season wrap-up on the softball team, which succeeded in making the PSAC playoffs, one of Jakubowski’s goals from the beginning on the year. I couldn’t have been happier for them.

Sadly, I’m on my way out, but I’m happy that Gannon athletics could remind me of how great sports can be one last time before I leave. I’ll miss running the scoreboard, announcing names and reporting on the 18 different Division II NCAA programs here, not to mention the intramural sports, pick-up floor hockey games and countless other activities I’ve had the pleasure of participating in.

I’ve had a lot of fun in my four years at Gannon, but now it’s time for someone else to “Game On.” Maybe that person could be you.

Stuff You Might Also Like: Are you a sports fanatic like Q? Check out the rest of his blog, Game On.