I come from a big family from sports lovers and participants; pretty much everyone has either been involved in football, basketball, hockey, track, cheerleading, softball/baseball, soccer, gymnastics, wrestling, volleyball...or a mixture of all of them. My Grandfather has been a Bears season-ticket holder since the sixties, and I recently just went to one for the first time this past October. Despite being somewhat of the black sheep in the family as far as actually playing sports goes, they have always remained an integral part of my life.
As a youngster, I didn't come to appreciate and admire the hard work and dedication of athletes until I was in eighth grade. When my brother started playing football, he eventually did get moved up with older kids because of his speed and size. Unfortunately, I didn't take notice of his talent due to sticking my nose in a book almost every Sunday that he had a game. When my sister started playing soccer I rarely, if ever, went to any of those.
As a freshman in high school, he was given a spot on the junior varsity football team and moved up to varsity the following year (only one of two sophomores, might I add). I believe he's either a fullback, or a halfback...maybe both? I do know he's in the back field though. Anyway, I wore his jersey all of my junior year and the majority of this past season; and let me tell you, I was proud of it!! Most girls wear the guys' jerseys because their either their girlfriends or just for the sake of doing so, but I was proud to be his sister. And just so everyone knows, I still am.
He's also heavily involved with wrestling and is current going down to compete in the state finals. Truth be told, I didn't quite comprehend or understand the concept of hard work and dedication until now. He's faced many obstacles this season, between fighting off bells palsy and cutting about twenty pounds (and staying that way) for the last three months or so.
Both my sister and my cousin are cheerleaders; for anyone who says that cheerleading isn't a sport, go to one of the competitions and actually watch what they do. It takes practice, skill and focus to have the ability to pull off stunts like that. In a sense, it's almost like acrobatics. I'll admit that I was nervous the first time I watched my sister compete.
I do get nervous for both of my siblings; it's always bothered me watching my brother get tackled (there were moments when I even shut my eyes) and whenever he would get injured (though they were minor) I would always be biting my nails praying Dear Lord, please still let him be able to play! As cheesy it sounds, sports do get personal for me when it involves watching a family member out there on the field, court, or wherever. I still can't watch his wrestling meets (at least to a certain degree) because even when he's in control of the match, I still cringe watching him get put in a headlock.
I also have friends that are deeply involved in athletic activities as well. Whenever I got the chance, whether it was because we had an off week or an away game that I just didn't feel like going to, I would always go and watch two of my guy friends play football at the local high school that I would've gone to. It was a ton of fun (the crowds are more lively and it would sometimes get crazy) but difficult to watch at times; I could only fathom what they would be feeling while being out there (and to say the least, it wasn't in a good way). There are also friends who play basketball that I would go and watch the games.
If all of the above might sound strange to some (especially in regards to those who I don't go to high school with) it was because they're my friends and I wanted to support them one way or the other. Granted, we don't get to see each other that often, but that doesn't mean that I don't care about them.
Some people might ask me where I fit in with all of this; at times, I do wonder what it would be like to score a touchdown or make the winning basket for a victory. I have dabbled in sports over the course of my life, and I think my biggest accomplishment was running track the summer of my freshman year. But honestly, I'm content with being a spectator; God gives each of us different gifts and talents, and we're not all meant to be good at everything. So I just choose to focus on the fact that I've been blessed with the gift of creativity and words :) Plus, it would be difficult for me physically, and I just don't have the energy for it.
All in all, I am incredibly proud of so many people, both friends and family. You guys do more than I ever could and I admire you so much for it :)