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A Long Way

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There are people out there, who, right now, are scared for their life. They’re scared that life as they know it will be forever changed – forever, and organically altered. Not just the common, average, everyday worries – they are faced with a seizure of fear – every day – each morning, among the first moments after they awake.

Maybe you are one of these. Maybe so am I.

But we have so much to feel good about – this is the good life, we’re livin’ – and it just gets better, honey!

Or does it?

Please stay with me.

Right about now, I suspect, some of you may be wondering…

What does that have to do with sports? And others of my readership may already be complaining…

“But, we want our sports – let’s hear about sports!!!!! – we’re supposed to be talking about sports – so, tell us something about sports!! What does any of that other bit have to do with sports!??!!”

Which is why I ask, as politely as this format will allow – for you to please stay with me…

Back to those paralyzed by fear…

Have you ever thought about courage? And what courage is? And what about freedom? Do you feel like you have your freedom? Does everyone have freedom in the same dosage? And what is the opposite of freedom? Is it bondage? To which I would say, perhaps, but also…the opposite of freedom is – fear.

Think about that. Debate it if you’d like. But think about it – and puzzle it out…

While you are, let me dip back to courage – you see…

Courage is the passport, when your old world disappears.

Courage is not the absence of fear – no, rather, courage is the mastery of fear.

So why should anybody be afraid for their life? Or, that their lives would be organically changed?

Ahh, my dear reader – deep down you know – that this we cannot truly understand unless and until we’ve walked for awhile – in someone else’s sneakers.

“So what’s the point of all this?,” you may be asking. And some of you may be saying – “Alright, already! We’ve been patient – now give us our sports!!! What does any of that – courage…freedom…and fear…what does any of that – have to do with sports!?!?!?!?!?”

Well, in a word…escape. A way out. A way to see – a way out. A way to find – a way out. A breath – but not just any breath, no – a breath for oxygen-depleted, -deprived lungs. Like that first breath – when you come up for air.

Yippee-ki-yay! Wow! There it is – ok. So – let’s go with that…Sports! Sports! Sports!!

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait!?!? So, like, who cares if the tail is wagging the dog?

Huh!?!

Now get this –

Sports are not life. Even if sports are your life, sports are not life. Sports are important – but there are a host of things that are more important than sports. Even in the business of sports, there are a ton of things more important than sports.

Why do you think there are so many people in the world who don’t even care about sports? They actually have disdain for sports. Ohh, wow! Yeah? Can we even contemplate such a thing?

Right, I know – I promise – I’m not like, a crazy person. But like, crazy people are ok, yeah? We even admire crazy people, right? Like, even if they’re insane? Wait. Insane? Or, insane! Like, one of those words that can mean both good and bad…

Huh!?!

See, here’s the deal…

What sports, recreation, and leisure DO give us – are the very gifts that keep us alive

Escape, which we said. But also – freedom from…whatever. Respectability. Control. A place among friends. Happiness. Empowerment. Freedom to…whatever. Satisfaction. Identity. Relief. Competence…and/or…a context to socialize…

All these – and more – through sports, and coming in different and varied dosages – each to her or his own individual cocktail of inevitability and purpose.

You see now? Sports are not life – they are, or can be, enjoyably – a reflection of life…

And they make life better…yet – sports, recreation, and leisure are probably most responsible for showing us visibly, and reminding us, daily – that we are…a long way from where we’ve been, and, at the same time…a long way from where we need to be.

By Dr. Rodney J. Blackman

Dr. Rodney J. Blackman is the Chair of Recreation Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at rblackman@ussa.edu.

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