I don’t have to look further than my athletic experience or other people participating in sports to help me understand bigger life conundrums or know that a “higher power” does exist. I know there to be a God/Gods/God-like-force in the universe and functioning this planet because of the miracles I’ve witness in watching sports and playing sports. As athletes, we are like living physics problems; we are also like artists. But, sometimes when art and science can’t fill that gap, we have to turn to something else. Thus, I found myself transfixed at times seeing or feeling the presence of God in what I was doing or watching in rarefied moments, because it was unexplainable without such. You could make the argument that “science just hasn’t come far enough yet.” But, we will never be able to explain our existence as it is, purpose, and all the questions that start with why.
My concept of God isn’t associated with any one religion, but more so a collection of many religions. God is availed everywhere as like an energy in the atmosphere, especially in times when science or probability leave us stupefied. For example: when that hockey, basketball, lacrosse, or billiard ball player makes a miraculous shot, that can’t be duplicated because of the perfect alignment of “the planets” if you will, to allow for that triumph for that team or person in that very moment, while simultaneously creating joy in others watching; and the associated pain for the opposition, to learn from that experience. Giving them the chance to bounce back and appreciate their next win or success (moral victory) more deeply. That has to be something greater than coincidence or luck or misfortune depending on which side of the equation you are on. People often time wonder why a God, would focus on sports. 1) I don’t think it is right to personify God; but 2) why wouldn’t God work in sports as with the rest of life since it is a part of life just the same; also 3) There is so much attention in the sports world, if God were to want to send a message, why wouldn’t “he/she/it” want to express their powers there? But again, God is something else that’s everywhere, all the time, drawing on our energy as we get it back from that energy.
God is that presence when two cars collide, but no one is injured, because of the occurrence as it unfolded allowed one or both people to defy the odds of incurring pain. God was there when the vehicles were being designed to be safer. There is video of a person being perfectly spit out of his car as it rolled over, landing him on his feet, with pure bewilderment on his face, as his car went on to get thrashed. (Wish I could find it to link it. But this is good enough.) God is that presence which allows a surgeon to have the focus, skill, and ingenuity to combine correctly to help save a life in the most delicate or intricate of situations. Or, it’s where the Internal Medicine doctor that has been sleep deprived, is still able to go through the memory bank and combine that knowledge with a unique perspective to allow them to treat a ailing patient, ailing from a little known problem, as glorified in the television show House.
Sadly, car accidents, or when other less than fortunate events take place that have a tragic outcome also leave us questioning the presence or existence of God. “Why me?” we wonder with pain and agony. And I don’t know!
Even when I fail in the future, or when I have failed in the past; or experience other unfortunate occurrences, I know I have to remain steadfast in my work ethic, while hopeful, as I keep trying to create a time when things materialize as I dreamed them. If and when it happens, it is bigger than me or you, the individual, but a sum of effort, the procedure or steps taken, probability of success, and good fortune working in our favor. We can only take responsibility for so much when things go wrong just as when things manifest as desired.
In athletics, especially a team-sport, players and coaches analyze what could’ve been done better or differently, often times resulting in a player being held accountable. An awesome and most pure approach is that the team outcome is the accumulation of many events not to be blamed on one person; or allow one person to have all the glory. But, too often, we see players feeling the pressure or accepting the blame for a loss, when there were many players out there on the field or court. But what about when a player drops a pass only he could’ve caught to win the game, or miss a shot only he had the opportunity to make? It becomes very absolute then. Either it went well or it didn’t. Was it fear of failing or fear of success, lack of talent, or something bigger? But one thing is true: there is another time to get it right…unless that was the last. Hopefully we aren’t experiencing the last one, but you never know when it is or the next to last one. Just give it your all and be thankful for every experience. And understand that there are other venues for the expression of talent to create success or happiness.
In my estimation, Athletics are a microcosm of life in its entirety. And athletes have a very direct connection to the physical and incalculable energy that exists in the world. It’s why I love my sport of choice and was so sad when I didn’t have the opportunity to continue it at the highest level. But, I’ve found peace in that I can still play the game and still feel that connection.
Now, I’m moving forward with what I have learned from the game and those lessons have been priceless for me in the non-sport world. I also can better appreciate that there is something greater working its show too.