You Win Some, You Lose Some
As I have grown up, I have had the privilege of participating in many different organized sports. I played football from the age of 7, all the way through college. I played basketball, and ran track nearly the same length of time. Even up until high school, I was part of a competitive chess team. Each of these sports I participated in and teams that I was a part of, has taught me important life lessons. Some of those lessons came as tough pills to swallow, while others came as powerful revelations that shaped me into who I am today.
As a seven year old, resilience can seem like a foreign concept. When I first started to play football, I learned that life will knock you down. I learned this the hard way. I was never very big physically, and would often get knocked down by the larger kids. It hurt too. I remember my dad (he was also my coach) telling me to “shake it off” and get back into the game. I learned very quickly that there are going to be painful events in life that will knock you down. While these are inevitable, life will go on with or without you. You have to “shake it off” and move forward with determination. No matter how many times you get “knocked down”, get up and keep forward to become strong and resilient. Eventually you will reach your goals if you do not give up.
I quickly learned how to be patient as a young chess player. Being a game of wits, it can take a long time to decide what moves to make. At first, I tried to play fast and have my move decided quickly. Naturally, this paid off when there was a time limit, but I learned quickly how mistakes were made. I learned that the opponent is going to take time to make their move. This was an opportunity for me to plan out my attack as well. I learned that by being patient and using the opponents time as well as mine, that less mistakes were made.
Rushing to make a decision and move my pieces quickly would often be my downfall in chess, as well as in life. Just as in chess, we have to make decisions every day that will affect us down the road. By being patient, weighing all my options, and thinking of each possible outcome, I learned to make sound choices in my daily life. I applied these lessons in nearly all of my major decisions since then.
Teamwork is a huge part of my daily life. I learned how to be a good teammate through sports such as basketball. Today, I use the skills encompassed but being a good sport in work and at home. Basketball was probably the most influential game to me in terms of learning teamwork. I was a quick kid with good ball handling skills, but alas, I was short. While I could get around my defender without help in most cases, it was a different story as soon as I came up to the post. Eventually, I learned that I could not score by myself. By learning how to pass the ball to teammates, and run plays, I became a much better player. I learned to use screens, set them for others, and move without the ball.
Eventually I learned to be able to score based off what my teammates were doing. Just like in basketball, everyday life requires teamwork. In a professional setting, it is imperative to be able to work with others to achieve success. As a bartender, I have been able to work with my other bartenders to break down crowds of customers into manageable bits. By being a good teammate, not only does that translate into less stress, but also more income due to higher quality service.
It’s the little things in life. Sports are fun and healthy activities for both the body and mind. That being said, nobody lives forever, and I had to learn that I can’t play forever either. Injuries happen, and I have seen many people’s careers ended due to one. I am fortunate because I have never had a career ending injury. Even with broken bones, sprained ankles, cuts and bruises I always bounced back. During the time I had to sit out with a broken leg, I thought the world was ending because I couldn’t play football. When I stepped back on the field, I developed a newfound appreciation for the abilities and opportunities I have been blessed with.
I am lucky because I have the ability to run and jump, as well as throw and catch. Many people cannot even stand up, much less dunk a basketball, and I get to experience that. I get to run around on a football field if I want to, or run around a track. I have the gift of sight, and my senses are all functioning as a team to allow me to enjoy all that life has to offer. Thanks to the lessons I learned throughout my sports career, I have an appreciation for the blessings in my every day life.