The month of March signals a time of new beginnings. The final vestiges of winter still try to hold on yet the longer days and frequently warmer temperatures beckon us towards spring. The greatest three weeks on the national sports calendar takes place with the annual NCAA Basketball Tournament. Yes, I will once again enter my one bracket of integrity this year.
On a personal note, March for me brings with it much time alone. Not lonely, mind you, but alone. You see, you can be lonely in a faceless crowd but be completely by yourself and yet content in your own thoughts. In the other eleven months there are contests to attend, which means people to see, to cohort with. Not March.
Being alone for stretches of time allows the mind to explore channels which may remain dormant amid a crowd. It reaches for that innermost being. What really makes us tick? Alone time takes us to places that can be at some times scary yet at other times exhilarating. Our keenest senses seemed to be heightened. We think thoughts we may never have pondered. Such a powerful tool is the human mind.
Maybe you’ve had this thought: How would my life have turned out if not for: fill in the blank? What if I had never met this person? Whatever you are passionate about, what if it never existed? What if I had studied a different field in school? What if I had been born in some third world country instead of here? We’ve all thought along these lines, I think.
For myself, what if Dr. James Naismith never invented the game of basketball? What if baseball never evolved from just a few youngsters toying with a stick and ball in expansive fields? What if schools didn’t deem it necessary to instill athletics into their curriculum? From those premises, a whole lot of what ifs follow.
Sports, after all, has been referred to numerous times as life’s toy department or candy store. Athletics have always served as a diversion from the much more pressing issues of our times. Sports have transcended society. Even those who couldn’t tell the difference between man to man defense and a zone may use sports expressions in their everyday language.
For those who are not into sports they simply don’t get us. Don’t you have better things to do with your time than to drive an hour and sit in a gym for an hour and a half to watch a basketball game? For many of us, sports is not just something we do or enjoy watching, it’s a passion that is very much part of who we are.
What other avenue in life brings people from all different backgrounds together than athletics? Whether rich, poor, young, or old, sports provides an instant starting point for conversation. We can argue about whether the Red Sox-Yankees trade was productive yet our contentions really are about issues without grave consequences.
When I think of all the opportunities sports has given me, I shutter to think of how my life would have turned out if not for athletics. I’m sure I would have found something to fill that void in my life. Most of my friends I’ve come to know through my involvement at various events. It is my social outlet. It’s that something to look forward to at the end of the day when the pressing issues of life cause stress.
My life would certainly look differently, that’s for sure if not for sports. Perhaps even in more positive ways. I may have more money, not having spent so much time in life’s candy store or toy department. However, l can truly say I would not have found the fulfillment I enjoy to this day. Whenever I’m announcing a game or keeping the scorebook I feel blessed to be involved in my life’s passion. Athletics has given me so much I can hardly repay. Imagine a world without sports? Time to move on to more pleasant thoughts, such as how I’m going to fill out my March Madness bracket.