Thanksgiving…my favorite holiday. I also love the true meaning of Christmas, but it has become far too commercialized.
Is there anything better than gathering with family and being thankful for our life together? There’s a saying that hits home every time I hear it…”Traditions are stories that families write together…keep writing our tradition.” With the loss of my parents a number of years ago, our family traditions will continue to be written by my nephew, niece and their children. They are indeed a blessing.
However, in addition to family appreciation, Thanksgiving is also a time to reflect on one’s own life – and to be thankful for what you have and the life you’ve lived. And be sure to note…both good and bad times help shape one’s life. If not for the bad, one might not cherish the good times as much. So, as you give thanks during the holiday, I recommend you also reflect on all the important moments in your life and use those memories as incentive to continue moving forward. But always remember, “What gives our lives meaning is how we are loved.”
With that said, I give thanks for my life in sports. Other than my family, sports has played the most significant role in my personal development over the years. From youth sports…to high school and college…to my professional career…to the friends I’ve made; sports has been a constant in my life. And while I was blessed to have the ability to play three sports (football, basketball and baseball) and honored to be in my High School Hall of Fame, it was the life lessons taught playing team sports for which I am most grateful. Fans only get to see game day, but it’s the process of learning how to play and how to be a good teammate that is the true learning experience and main reason to play sports. Team sports prepared me for life far more than any book.
Don’t get me wrong, I greatly appreciate the education I received. High School provided me with a few great teachers who enabled me to ignite my brain with a desire to learn more. And college? The best education I received there was attending a university that was over a thousand miles from home. The distance forced me to learn how to take care of myself.
But, again, it was learning how to work and mingle with people via sports (my teammates and opponents) that was the best education I received. There were good teammates…those who were unselfish, humble, and who sacrificed for the betterment of the team. And there were bad teammates – those whose self-importance and braggadocios style only fractured teams. Luckily, I experienced more good than bad.
Those experiences in my younger years helped mold and prepare me for my professional career. It helped guide me, as I took what I learned on the playing field into real life, and it prepared me for much of the same personality traits in the business world…both good business peers and bad.
So, as I give thanks for family and friends on Thanksgiving, I will also be thankful for sports, which guided me through the multiple stages of adulthood, and was instrumental in me being the person I am.