Thanksgiving with a Side of Sport

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After a much too long break from writing, I’m back…

It’s the beginning of that wonderful time of year when we come together with our family and closest friends to celebrate Thanksgiving this week week and Christmas in a few more weeks. But, I think that the meaning of Thanksgiving gets lost more and more each year, especially among athletes. This loss of meaning from those who should be most thankful is the inspiration of this post. Now don’t get me wrong, I think that if anyone has the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving, they should be immensely grateful and thankful for everything they have in life. But, I write on sports and think through a sports perspective so here we go…

I hear people all the time saying that they wish practice would get cancelled, or they hope it rains so that we don’t have to travel and play an hour away. I’m guilty of this and I’m sure you are too if you’ve ever played a sport. Whether its high school or college sports, sometimes the grind of practicing or playing 6 times a week is too much for us to handle. How can that be possible? We get to play the sport that we love 6 times a week. Why aren’t we happy about that? Why do we dread it so often? Why do we dread the running/conditioning that goes along with our sport? Do we really hate the pain that comes from enjoying time playing a beautiful game with our closest friends? We all need to realize how lucky we are and how special an opportunity we have been given to play a sport. When it all boils down to it and we remove the layers of winning, learning life lessons, and competing against other people just like us, what is the purpose of sport? To have fun and spend your time do something that you love. So why can’t we just appreciate it more, not just a little bit more, a lot more.

This doesn’t just apply to those who play sports in college, or high school, or even recreationally. If you have the ability to walk to the gym and shoot around with your friends or toss the pigskin around, you have reason to be thankful.

There are thousands and millions of people across the country and across the globe who wish that they could play high school, college, or even recreational sports. These people simply do not have the means or even the physical capabilities to play and compete. They watch as people run around on the field and wish that they could get up and join in, but they can’t. They wish that they could escape the financial hole that they are in and sign up to play, but they can’t. Yet we sit there and say, “I hope the rain keeps up so the field gets too wet.” Our friends ask if we want to go down to the court and play some pickup basketball and we say that we don’t feel like it. At the very least, learn to appreciate the choice that you are given. Too many don’t have the choice of going to play ball or not. Too many simply cannot make that decision, it is made for them.

To steal some words from the Jacobs brothers (founders of Life is Good), if you ever feel like you “have” to do something, you need to re-think your life. You are given the opportunity to do something. “I have to go to practice” or “I have to go for a run” are two of an infinite number of phrases that should never come out of our mouths. “I get to go to practice” or “I get to go for a run” should be what we say because there are too many people out there who simply are not given the choice to say “yes or no.”

So please, as you get some time off from school or work for this Thanksgiving holiday, remember to give thanks for something, or in many of the cases, give thanks for a lot in your life. If you go to college, be thankful that you have the opportunity. If you play a sport, be thankful that you have the opportunity. And most importantly, if you have loving friends and family around you this holiday season, be thankful for the life you have been granted.

Do I fully embrace this lesson and live by it? No, but I’m working on it just as you all should. It’s time we take a step back and appreciate what we have in life, and it doesn’t just have to be this time of year…

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

-Will

@willalden18

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