Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In my last post I had mentioned a boy at my Dad's school who suffers from a serious disease. After hearing more and more about him throughout the week and finally meeting him last night, I have learned more things from this child than any teacher I have ever had. (no offense Mom and Dad) Eddie is a nine year old boy who suffers from and has been burdened by the side affects of cancer. Last night, Eddie was brought to the locker room and walked the team out on the field as well as sat on the bench with us for the game. When he entered the locker room I was truly shocked, his skin pale he had little hair and his condition required him to have a tube which stretched from his nose to his stomach. 

It without a doubt blew my mind, a child that stood only four feet tall and seemed minuscule next to some of us who are taller than six feet, stood taller than all of us on that night. As a team we did everything possible to make him feel comfortable when he was with us. Individually, we introduced ourselves and afterwards presented him with a ball which we all signed. Also, in dedication to Eddie and his struggle, we wore yellow tape on our socks during the game. I compared the entire experience to the Jimmy Fund telethon held every summer where Red Sox players are able to meet the children at Dana Farber. Although we are not comparable by any means to a professional team, to be able to make a wish of someone less fortunate than yourself come true, is truly a rewarding experience. 

Physically, Eddie is at a constant struggle with his condition. What we see as an ordinary day, he sees as a paradise. Everyday, he must undergo supplements upon supplements of medication as well as appear in doctors' offices on a regular basis. As some may perceive it, my team and I did nothing short of a heroic act for a child who struggles with a deathly disease. I was told by a parent that I am a hero for Eddie. Although I may be his, he is also mine. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just Lucky I Guess

Ever since I began playing sports, they have been nothing more than a formality and a good time. In high school, practices and games six days a week, it became a lifestyle. On top of homework, and other obligations it can even become a nuisance. In my final year of high school sports, and soccer especially, as a captain and senior I'm out to make it my most successful. At times, losses and the teenage habits will affect not only an individual's play, but that of the entire team. The game, which you love and cherish, can become a frustration. This past week I finally got it, I haven't been looking at the bigger picture.

Last week at practice, our moral for some reason just plain sucked. The reason was unknown, our record's great, we were winning games, we just didn't feel like being there. As practice was ending, Dad referenced to a boy in his school who suffers from a serious disease, one which does not allow him to play sports and requires him to have a breathing apparatus at all times. He said to us: "At least, you have the chance to be out here day after day playing ball." I had gotten it, directly towering over the stadium where we practice, sits Salem Hospital. To some it's a hospital, and to hundreds of children it's home. It had never truly crossed my mind as it had just then. Thousands, and quite possibly millions of children across the country and the world will never be able to kick a soccer ball, shoot a basketball, or ever walk.

Here I was day after day getting to play the game I love, where some fifty yards away were children probably just like me, of all ages, begging for the chance to someday have the opportunity that I have been given my whole life. I've never truly felt a stronger sense of gratitude and appreciation for anything sports related, as I felt at that moment. It truly did blow my mind. On July 4th, 1939, Lou Gehrig stood in front of a standing crowd and delivered his retirement speech. As he fought back tears he said: "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth... and even though I've been given a bad break, I have got an awful lot to live for." With just a few minutes remaining last night in my game and with the game already won by a healthy margin, to be able to stand on my goal line every day in stead of in a hospital room I though to myself: "I truly am the luckiest man on the face of the earth."