What is the point of competitive athletics? It is NOT what you think

I have been meaning to write this article for a very long time, but I kept making poor excuses, or following the whims of my inspiration and the path of least resistance. But a few recent experiences I have had while helping coach my old high school basketball team and spending time with patients in the rheumatology clinic made me realize that I needed to write this post sooner rather than later. But after watching the emotional post-game interview of John Wall (shown below) one of my friends shared on Facebook after the game, I realized I needed to write this post now and sacrifice however much sleep was needed.

A lot of times in the realm of the uber-competitive athletic world it is so easy to get caught up (myself included) in the wins and loses, rivalries and the drive for a championship. However, none of this really matters. Like I mentioned in a previous post society has brainwashed us all into thinking that once we achieve some specific physical stimulation we will be happy and achieve completion. That is unequivocally false. You will not feel happy by winning that next game, besting your bitter rival or winning that elusive championship.

So if your not striving to win that championship or chasing records then why even bother with sports? You may state sports is all about wining. It is undeniable that in the moment the big game loom large on the horizon and it brings a monumental amount of pressure and expectations, but if you believe that your main objective is to just go out there and win your are missing the bigger picture and the true joy of sport that is experienced by living a value driven life.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Mary Angeluo

Sport is NOT about winning games but it is a vehicle that allows for personal transformation and development and most importantly it is a venue for people to express their God given talents in a way that can inspire others. As the quote above eloquently states, and what John Wall exhibits by his actions is that basketball (or whatever one does) is just a means in which one can express and share their unique and special gift to the world. Each and every one of has has a special talent hidden inside of us, just like how a clam has a pearl hidden beneath its shell. We all just need the right environment and people to help pry our special gift out to the world.

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John Wall embodies the beauty of sport to transcend terrible situations. His selfless actions and impeccable character traits are something that we should all strive to model. However, to do so requires that we are able to maintain perspective at all times, and understand how unbelievably luck we are right now. A great way I like to do this is whenever I experience a negative situation I always think of what could have happened worse. For example if I get stuck on Lions Gate Bridge Traffic (which is an all too common occurrence in Vancouver) I immediately think well I could have gotten into a car accident, or maybe I don’t even have a car to drive and I need to walk. Maintaining perspective is necessary but not sufficient to truly internalize these ideas. What is also absolutely essentially, is living your life NOT based on the whims of circumstances but based on timeless princples and values that you hold near and dear to your heart. Again John Wall exhibits the values he bases every decision in his life in the video below.

I hope this post helped shed a new perspective on how you approach your athletic endeavors and what you use as fuel to your fire.  Also, if you do not shed at least a tear after watching the two videos in this post I am going to have to request you get an examination to see if your heart is still beating! But in all seriousness, please make any comments you may have about this post below, I would love to hear people’s ideas and comments regarding this topic and if you have any future topics you would like me to discuss please let me know, and feel free to reach out to me on Facebook (Pavan Mehat) or LinkedIn.

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