Thank You, Dwyane Wade: My Humanity Restored by the Theatre of Sports

Commentary6 years ago4 min readGiancarlo Navas

Buried in our everyday lives do we find things that remind us what it means to be human. If we don’t have our humanity, then what do we really have? Sports is often theatre of the spectacular, played out by beings of flesh and blood. And in that theatre do we find messages that resonate with us and our human condition.

As Michael Biamonte, the in-stadium announcer for the Miami HEAT, introduced each Chicago Bulls player with his classic monotone voice, there were questions on how it would feel when he got to Dwyane Wade’s name.

“DWYA—,” the stadium erupted, a standing ovation broke out as Biamonte said Wade’s name with the same fervor and vibrancy that Miami has heard for 13 years. It wasn’t the introduction Wade needed, but it was certainly the one he deserved and it hit every note as HEAT fans clapped and roared to the melody of gratitude.

That was only a taste of what was truly to come. During the first timeout, the HEAT played a video tribute to Wade that was promised and expected from when he came into the league to the battle with purple shirt guy—all chronicled and remembered.

A lot has moved me these past few days. We as a country are as divisive as ever, and conflict seems to be more prevalent than in recent memory. Arguing and fighting and yelling—all debilitate people. Even if you feel that you are on the correct side of justice, the mental and emotional exhaustion is draining. I was at a point where I was hating people for hating others. I was losing myself and I was forgetting what it meant to have humanity. I have cried a lot the past few days. Cried for the people I love, cried with the people I love and cried for myself.

As the Wade tribute came to a crescendo, I was moved yet again. Cold tears streaming down my warm face that had been brewing up by anxiety all day. Tears that for the first time all week were partnered with a smile and applause, and not a broken frown.

I was moved by something beautiful. I was reminded of a sports career that helped me find my passion. I was reminded again why I’ve chosen to pursue sports journalism. And most of all, I was reminded of my humanity. So much so, that I felt something so pure and human—an appreciation for a man I have never met. I didn’t even want to wipe the tears off my face because that would mean I would have to stop clapping.

As the video finished, a fan base and community often accused of apathy made the AmericanAirlines Area shake with applause. Nearly 20,000 people on their feet chanting “D-WADE! D-WADE!,” as Miami’s once prodigal son stepped to center court and blew kisses to his constituents for perhaps the last time.

https://twitter.com/MiamiHEAT/status/796888764673101824

The rest was sports at its finest. Competition and theatre that makes you forget of all the headache and sadness you may have had. Late game drama as the home team mounted a comeback that made the building explode for yet another time. Moments of Justise Winslow defending Wade one-on-one.

This is why we are drawn to sports. They make us feel, and remind us of our humanity. To feel is to live.

Dwyane Wade, for maybe the last time, provided me with an out— a form of escapism. He saved me today because I desperately needed saving, even if it was only for a night.

Miami loves you, Dwyane. I love you, Dwyane. Thank you forever.