Do Sports Matter During Natural Disasters?

In the midst of the continued aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, I saw this on ESPN yesterday:

I’ve written about sports and related media sometimes forgetting that they’re just a form of entertainment. They bring a lot of people joy and meaning, but in the end, sports are no different than movies, TV shows, music, and board games. They serve to entertain.

Do the people of Houston care at all right now about whether or not their baseball team wins or loses? I highly doubt it.

I wondered the same thing after Hurricane Katrina. There were so many times when I heard announcers say that the city of New Orleans really needed the team to win for them in those tough times. While I certainly don’t think it hurts to have something to cheer for in the midst of an intense hardship, in a way it seems insensitive to correlate the two.

The people in Houston don’t need their baseball team to win. They need food. They need shelter. They need the waters to recede.

That said, I’ve been fortunate to not have my life upended by a natural disaster, so maybe a win by my local team really would make a huge difference. If you’ve been through something like that, what do you think? Did you mind sports media talking about the impact of your local team in this way?