It has been a long and chaotic year worldwide. That same sentiment holds true for 2016 sports. It is time to look back and see just what has happened this year. From Believeland, to the Cubs ending their drought, to the Sheriff’s retirement, it has been a meaningful year in sports.

Sports, like nothing else, are able to bring people together as well as inspire them. When you think of inspirational movies, classics like Rudy and Friday Night Lights come to mind. It is hard to get a firm understanding of what exactly it is about sports that can bring fans to their feet in cheers after an exciting moment, bring them to their knees in tears after their team pulls off a miraculous victory, or break their heart after an agonizing defeat. Sports, and the athletes who play them are able to do something better than almost anything – inspire. And because of this ability, athletes have a great responsibility to help bring people together.

Players like LeBron James and Dwayne Wade have tried to bring people’s attention to the many injustices around the world today, and help them to understand the responsibility athletes have to use their influence and resources to make a difference. Not only can athletes be agents of change, but they also can be role models to many people across our country and throughout the world. Everything they do is a front-page story, and fair or not, they must be good examples to us all. There is a simple reason for this. And that reason is because of just how many people love sports, and how many people call themselves fans of certain players or a particular team. If we spend our time watching these people, they can have a great influence if they want to and if we let them.

So, for 2017, let’s change. Let’s have fun. But let’s always make a difference. Whether you’re playing on Sundays or just watching, we can all do something to make 2017 a great year – a year for change and growth rather than sticking with the status quo.