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Bringing home a new spin on sports

By: Joshua Ansley
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When I moved to Loomis 20 years ago, it didn’t matter to me where I was. I was in the right place so long as I had a basketball to play with. That’s how it is when you’re 5. You can travel thousands of miles and your world doesn’t grow more than a few. Growing up in Loomis, I attended Del Oro High where I played basketball, football, and ran track and field. It’s ok if you don’t remember me. I was the guy on the bench, the sideline, and behind the pack of runners. I graduated in 2003, went to Sierra College for two years, and eventually graduated from Vanguard University of Southern California in 2008. With a B.A. in English, and a life immersed in sports, I am here now as the sports writer for the Loomis News. My hope is to usher in a new outlook on sports inside this page. I want you to enjoy reading about sports almost as much as you enjoy watching them. I want you to see, feel, and hear what you are reading, because I know sports matter in this town. Truth be told, sports matter everywhere. South Africa just wrapped up the World Cup in soccer that brought in a team from North Korea. What other interaction does the world have with North Korea? Sports can connect people in a way nothing else can. It was ping-pong that started the United States’ interaction with China in the 1960’s. It was baseball that shattered racial barriers. It was basketball that brought a major sport from the far off fields into the inner city. It has been the Olympics forcing us every four years to see others as people no different from ourselves. Wherever we have been divided, we have been connected through sports. It does not matter where a person comes from. Sometimes it is easy to think a small town such as ours is at a disadvantage. Nothing could be further from the truth. Michael Jordan came out of Wilmington, N.C., Jesse Owens came out of Oakville, Ala., Larry Bird came from French Lick, Ind., Jackie Robinson came from Cairo, Ga., Mia Hamm came from Selma, Ala. The world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, came out of Trelawny, Jamaica. Sports magnify our ability to overcome obstacles. We know people throughout the world overcome incredible obstacles every day just to survive. But in sports we can see it happen in a matter of seconds. And we cheer and bawl and yell at the sight of it because we see something in that physical manifestation that we can relate to in our daily lives. For a lot of people in Loomis, sports may not mean all that much. Some watch a sport just to see their son or daughter excel in front of others. Some watch because the whole town is there. It’s about the excitement. Some consider sports to be just another instinctual, violent act from our wild nature that we can’t seem to let go of. But they don’t tend to watch and have probably already tossed this page into the furnace. I am not here to reel them in. Nonetheless, no one can argue what sports mean to me. Basketball has been there when I had no other place to go or anything else to turn to for relief. Its graceful feel gives pleasure and its sometimes silent court, solace. I cannot say it has been everything. But it has been something very special. So what do sport matters to you most, and why? Send in your response to josha@goldcountrymedia.com. If your answer is chosen it will be printed in next week’s sports page.