The Paw Print
Sitting around the dinner table this Thanksgiving, I couldn’t help but reflect on all of the things that I am thankful for in my life. I am blessed with many things, and one of those is sports. Sports have been an integral part of my life pretty much since I was born, and I have learned so much because of them.
First, I’ve learned the true value of teamwork. On the field or court of competition, it takes a team mentality to win the game. If just one athlete thinks only of himself and not the rest of his team, the team will not operate smoothly. In order to be successful, athletes have to rely on their teammates and also come through for them. A team must act as one.
I’ve come to learn that the same is true in life. No one can make it alone. At some point, each of us have depended on someone else in our lives, whether it is for help, motivation, or a listening ear and steady hug. And sometimes, we have to be there when the people in our lives need us.
It’s also important to learn how to respect other people. Just because we may not all listen to the same kind of music, watch the same tv shows, or hold the same values in life, everyone deserves to be treated kindly. We also must learn how to put differences aside to work toward one common goal.
Being around sports has also taught me a lot about hard work and dedication. It’s been said that “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” and this couldn’t be more true. You could be the best football player, best writer, best basketball player, best singer, best runner, or best mathematician, but if you don’t put effort and passion into what you’re good at, your talent will amount to nothing.
Sports, as well as other aspects of our life, take a lot of time and dedication. The more that you put into something, the more you will get out. Vince Lombardi once said “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.”
I’ve also learned to never ever give up. In sports and in life, don’t give up when things get rough. Paul “Bear” Bryant said, “Don’t give up at half-time. Concentrate on winning the second half.” I’ve seen some crazy things happen in the last few seconds of games, so make every second count and put forth effort until the very end.
Take the good parts of life and be happy, take the bad parts of life and learn from them. Always keep moving forward and never count yourself out. And, as Babe Ruth so famously said, “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” Never pass up an opportunity because you’re afraid of what might happen.
And most importantly, have fun! Enjoy the things that you do and the people that you’re around, because before you know it, the opportunity will have passed you by. We get the chance to play and to live and so we might as well give it our best shot and have fun.
I’ve been very fortunate to meet a lot of amazing people through sports and I’ve made some great memories involving sports. I’ve also learned some good life lessons through sports, and for that, I am thankful.