Memories From Growing Up: Success for the Sports Impaired

Nov 20th, 2008 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

What I remember most of all is that I was never an early draft choice for any sports activity. Coach Bob Knight, a 40’s type Charles Atlas, may have been good at athletics, but he wasn’t much on human sensitivity.

Those of us who were always, and I mean always, at the bottom of team choices, never got any consideration. We weren’t good at it and so we weren’t an important consideration. Competition, winning, getting the prize or trophy was more important than including everyone in the group. And so, early on, I was convinced that I would never be a sportsman. I would never be chosen. I would never play in an important position. I would never be admired by “all the beautiful girls.”

Persons faced with such as this aren’t alone and lonely. They just think they are at the time. My best friends growing up weren’t jocks. They were “nerds” by a later definition. I have had and will always have a very poignant connection with them. They like me went in other directions: dramatics, law, social services, languages, teaching, some in medicine, even the ministry.

Over the years, I have found it more helpful to be able to converse on issues of universal depth and intellect than I have in identifying the number, team and position of a particular football player. But, here again, life caught up with me. When I returned to East Texas, one of the holy shrines of football, I was invited by one of my favorite all time friends to watch the Super Bowl at their home every January. Humbling and educational! I am not a front row seat, 50 yard line man, but I won the pot last year.

As for those of us who found our life work and meaning elsewhere, I have no regrets at not having achieved in sports. I am only glad there were outlets for those whose inclinations looked elsewhere for satisfaction and fulfillment. Today, living in that same east Texas town, I am often called upon to preside at memorial or funeral services of dear friends or long time acquaintances. I have learned that everyone can’t do that, just as I couldn’t hit a ball or catch a fly.

More than that, I have now the privilege and joy of a former NFL football star in my circle. He is an enormously engaging human being and he has taught me that it is okay if I am not football literate. He loves me just the way I am.

Memories and growing up never stop. I will never be a huge sports fan, but I so enjoy being included and treated as a friend and a person of worth no matter how little I know about the sport or how limited my skills.

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