Sunday, July 30, 2017

Medals And Glory

Our kids grew up playing youth sports. Swimming and soccer, mostly, though each tried other sports along the way.

Wil tried track and cross country and was really good at both. He had that rare ability to not only go long distance but also to run with speed. He also tried basketball and wrestling. But for him, the only sport that took root was soccer.

As a youngster, Hannah did gymnastics and seemed a natural. She also tried field hockey for a year and was pretty good. I think her ability to run and her knowledge of soccer helped. She also played basketball and I thought she did well. But for her, swimming and soccer were her sports, but she had to give up swimming after a shoulder injury. As a young adult, she now goes to a kickboxing gym for conditioning.

Emily, like her sister, was into swimming and soccer. At some point in middle school, she made the decision to only play soccer and it has paid off since she plays for her collegiate team. But she also tried martial arts, softball and basketball.

And you can imagine the ribbons, medals and trophies that have accumulated over the years. When they weren’t thrown away- not by Kim or me, but by them- they collected dust and added to clutter. Of course they kept some of the more memorable ones.

I’m an avid Packer and football fan. While I coached basketball in high school and college, I was a terrible basketball player. My players would make fun of me, and rightfully so. The only sport I was half-way decent at was football. I liked the contact, but at five-foot-eight and being not terribly fast or quick, high school football for me was my Mount Everest. A lot of players better than I was. Way better.

At times I’m equal parts amused and frustrated at polls and rankings of athletes. ESPN has a Top 100 listing of football players. National polls of football teams and basketball teams usually get it wrong and teams bounce up and down like yo-yos.

We bestow on athletes Most Valuable, Comeback Player of the Year, Best Offensive Player, Best Defensive Player, and on and on. Medals and trophies, money and cars, all given out to the alleged best among the elite.

It’s frustrating to me, but also interesting to me. Weird, I guess.

Honestly, I prefer the stories of Packer players riding little kids’ bikes to and from the practice field, building both memories and relationships as they do. I prefer stories of athletes who at one time lived on the streets or out of a car, who survived and overcame gangs and drugs, to not only make a team but become beloved by fans and players. I prefer stories of athletes finishing college while playing the sport they loved because they have a vision of a future beyond the sport.

I prefer stories of athletes and teams adopting terminally ill kids, inviting them to practice and into the locker room. I prefer stories of athletes visiting sick children in hospitals or their homes in order to somehow, in some way, make a burden lighter.

I prefer stories of athletes . . . and others . . . giving of themselves quietly and out of the spotlight in order to touch the lives of others, in order to make a difference in a life.

I’ve always believed that Medals And Glory need to be given to athletes . . . and others . . . who make a positive difference in the lives of others. Let us give them a ranking and national acclaim.

Yet, I have a feeling they’d be embarrassed and would run from the spotlight faster than Usain Bolt in a 100 meter dash. Because for them, they give without the expectation of being recognized. They give without the expectation of an award or acclaim.

That’s why my heroes are folks like the elderly nun from Calcutta serving the poor or the former president who humbled himself and allowed a little boy to rub his head, or that same former president giving knuckle-bump a custodian. My heroes include a former president who, in his poor health, builds houses for Habitat for Humanity. Each of them Do, because they see a need. They Do, because it is the right thing to do. They Do, and perhaps, so should we. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

I finished my fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction, Caught in a Web and I’ll keep you posted as to when it will be published. While we wait, I am busy having fun with my sixth, Spiral Into Darkness.

Please feel free to connect with me at:

Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

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If you like Thriller/Suspense fiction, check out my novels:

Available on Amazon for .99 the Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Agent Kelliher and two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out.   

Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy:
Two thirteen year old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved.   

 Shattered Lives, Book Two of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year old boy stands in the kitchen pointing a gun at his uncle. There are many reasons for him to pull the trigger. Mainly, he had started it all.   

Splintered Lives, Book Three of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year old boy is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. High up on an Arizona mesa, he faces three desperate and dangerous men in hopes of saving his father and his brothers.

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