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."