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Dee McLelland: Sports can undivide us
Dee McLelland new

We have discussed some very important topics over the last three months from our global health to national race relations. None need to be ignored and I think most good people realize we have plenty of work to do on all fronts, but for just a few minutes this weekend I sat back and watched someone in real competition.

Sports are starting to inch back into our lives and PGA golf came back this past weekend and I couldn’t be happier.

It was amazing to see some of the top players in the world compete on a very hard course and it was for real. It shows people in this country, if anything at all, can unite when it comes to America’s love of sports. Golf fans or not, people watched. For goodness sakes, there have been people betting on Korean professional baseball for the last month or so to satisfy their “sports itch.”

We, as Americans, crave our sports, not just for the betting, but for the shear competition and watching the world’s best perform at levels we can only dream of achieving. But I also think sports can be a platform for the reform we need in our country.

As much as I enjoyed the distraction of watching the PGA this past weekend, I also have to admit how much golf has come to mean to me. In fact, I would say golf is the main reason I was able to pass time during our quarantine. I couldn’t visit family back in Florida for almost a month and had it not been for the occasional round of golf, alone or socially distanced, I don’t know how well I would have fared. I’ve also met some very fine folks, which is not unusual. Of course there’s always the incredible jerk who thinks he should be on the PGA every weekend, but 99.9% of the time everyone is fantastic.

I’ve also found my new friends to come from all walks of life, different ethnicities different political thoughts and even more shocking, they pull for different college football teams!

Surprisingly enough, those differences seem to melt away while on the course. There’s a common “pulling for each other” feeling. It’s not that the differences don’t matter, certainly they do, but it’s a common ground of competition and sportsmanship that I believe are the basis of communication. If we can overcome our differences to pull together for a few hours, certainly we can start finding common ground for us to have real discussions about those differences and how we can resolve them, or at the very least understand them.

I believe the return of sports is way more important than just the distraction from everyday life. I believe sports to be the common ground we need to point out our similarities, rather than concentrate on our differences. I also believe it will be the similarities we share to be the path for the resolution of our differences.

If you don’t think Georgia fans dislike Florida fans you have had your head in a cave. But, those Georgia fans, no matter their personal differences, race or politics will stand shoulder to shoulder to unite against Florida nation which they see as a so called “enemy.”

Why then, can we not as Americans, sports lovers to the utmost, use our similarities and our love of sports to unite against the most dastardly of foes we face in our world today?

We all face enemies like racism, poverty, hunger, corrupt government and many others. I wish and hope, much like a golf course, we can find our similarities and overcome our differences and find ourselves pulling for each other and producing the results which each individual deserves.

If you see me, say “Hey!”

Dee McLelland is the Publisher of the Coastal Courier and the Bryan County News. He can be reached at or 876-0156.

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