FOR ME, as I'm sure is the case for many of you, sports has always been my refuge. No matter how bad or stressed I was feeling about the challenges that faced me in my work or my personal life, I could always put them out of my mind for a couple of hours while watching a great sporting event.

Even when I was campaigning and had no time to myself, I always found time to read the box scores. That usually took me about 10 minutes, but, for those 10 minutes, I thought of nothing else, and my troubles were miles away.

Needless to say, the past few days have been very difficult and very painful for me. It is not only because I have serious doubts about President-elect Trump's ability to handle this job (I hope I am wrong), but because I deeply believe that Hillary Clinton, despite some flaws as a campaigner, would have turned out to be a simply great president.

I had no illusions that it would be easy, but I thought she could bring us together and successfully confront some of the difficult challenges facing us. When I woke up Friday, all of the pain and trepidation I was feeling was at full bore, so I tried immersing myself in the sports pages.

Much to my delight I discovered that I would have an enjoyable Friday night because Maggie (my golden retriever) and I would get to watch the kick off of the college basketball season. Consider what Friday night's sports calendar looked like. On TV, we had the choice of watching Michigan State vs. Arizona and Indiana vs. Kansas in the Armed Forces Classic. We could also tune in and see North Carolina and Ohio State open their season, and then, at 11 p.m. watch the IQ Bowl, Harvard vs. Stanford.

At the same time, I could listen on my radio to my beloved Penn Quakers opening their season at Robert Morris. If that was not enough, I could watch the Sixers or Flyers in regular-season contests. And lastly I could watch The Penn Quakers football team try to win a share of the Ivy League football title by beating Harvard.

I would be working my remote so fast and furiously that poor Maggie's head would be spinning. But the best part of all of this is that, for six hours I would not be thinking about the presidential election or how difficult it is to be a loyal Democrat these days.

I also focused on the fact that my escape from reality would not end on Friday, but would continue through a plethora of college football and basketball games on Saturday, and, of course, my attention, as with that of the entire Delaware Valley, would be riveted on our battling Birds on Sunday when they host the Atlanta Falcons.

Now I realize that this escape is only temporary and that I, like all of us, eventually will have to go back to facing reality, but that does not minimize what sports can do for us.

Sports can lift the spirits of an entire city - such as with Cleveland with the Cavaliers and Chicago, with the Cubs.

Sports can break the collective hearts of a city, as well - e.g., the Phillies' 1964 collapse.

They give us heroes whose courage and grace under fire inspire us, figures such as Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig, and Dan Jansen.

For me and so many in the world, it would be a dreary place if there were no sports. I know professional and college sports are beset with many challenges and have many wrongs that need to be righted.

But, we all should thank the good Lord that sports exist to lighten our lives and bring us joy, and sometimes even pain, but, most of all, let us forget the real world, if only for a little while.

@GovEdRendell