Tears of Joy

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It is embarrassing to admit but I have a tendency to tear up over sporting events. When I attend in person I almost always have to blink a bit during the National Anthem. I know how lucky I am to live in such a great country but really listening to the words of “The Star Spangled Banner” reminds me of how hard we have had to fight to keep it free.

 

gabe york

Photo by  Casey Sapio of USA Today Sports

Often I feel a lot of reaction to great plays in sports.  I think it is weird but I can’t seem to do anything about it.  I know it is just happy emotions spilling out my eyes.  This weekend? University of Arizona basketball.  Senior Day.   Gabe York firing four threes in a row?  Three of them in 54 seconds?  The celebrating joy of the entire Wildcat team?  Visiting the “A” center court as he left his home court floor for the final time? I had to grab a tissue.

 

broncos

 

Today Peyton Manning is announcing his retirement. Has there been a better professional athlete?  What if all athletes with Peyton’s level of talent also exhibited his other attributes: work ethic, sportsmanship, charity, devotion to team, gratitude? It is hard to stop listing all of the positive things Peyton Manning exemplifies.  Can you imagine a NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and Nascar completely populated with players like Peyton Manning?  Yes, there are some other great players out there, Stephen Curry comes to mind.  But there are too many players who are only playing for their paycheck.  Too many who don’t appreciate that raw talent isn’t enough and so they squander it.

It can be a challenge to find good role models for my son.  I hope whoever takes over for Peyton Manning realizes it is not just about what you do on the field, but how you do it.  That with the big paycheck comes a responsibility off the field as well.

I am hoping to watch Peyton Manning’s press conference.  Will I cry?  Maybe.  But they will be happy tears for a career well played and a life well lived.

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Photo from:  http://www.biography.com/people/peyton-manning-37880#related-video-gallery

Thank You Peyton Manning!!

Let’s Talk Sports

Now that I am thinking about it I have a pretty varied range of interests. Some of the things I love to do include read, hike, camp, needlework, bowl, bake and watch sports.

Over the years the sports and teams I follow have changed. In high school I was a huge Baltimore Oriole fan. When I was stationed at Offutt AFB, Ne in the mid- 80’s I followed the Washington Redskins. For awhile I watched NASCAR, rooting for Joe Gibbs racing.  I have a tendency to pick my teams sometimes by geography but mostly by good role models.  I like athletes who are making millions of dollars to exhibit a good work ethic, a sense of responsibility to the community and excellent sportsmanship.  Cal Ripken Jr. was all about the work ethic, Jack Kent Cooke was an excellent owner and Joe Gibbs (a coach for the Redskins before retiring to run his NASCAR team) is hardworking and open about his christian faith.

These days I am a football and basketball fan. We have season tickets to University of Arizona Wildcat football games this year.  It is only six games so not too big a commitment. It is more of a geographic choice but I do like the atmosphere at college games.

 

 

broncos

 

 

For my pro teams it has been hard to find good role models lately.  Nothing worse that a team that has players who should be in jail (or have been in jail) for assault in any form, drugs, drunk driving etc. For now I  follow the Denver Broncos because I am a Peyton Manning fan.  In my opinion Peyton Manning is one of the best role models in football these days.  It is amazing what a person who has raw talent and an astounding work ethic can accomplish in one short athletic career. Not to mention what a giving, unselfish person he is.  His parents got everything right with him!

(As an aside I am  happy so many Denver fans were as upset as I was about Aqib Talib’s horrible behavior.  I agree with the one game suspension and wish the Bronco’s would throw in some postseason community service as well.)

 

miami heat

 

And then we get to basketball.  For many years I was a Phoenix Suns fan because of Steve Nash.  When we moved to Tucson I was excited to be able to go to a few games a season and watch all the rest on television.  For a few years I was a happy camper.  And when Nash retired I had no problem moving my allegiance to Goran Dragic, another excellent example of unselfish sportsmanship, hard work and community spirit.  His community spirit exists for both his native Slovenia and his  adopted U.S. home.   When the Sun’s front office made some really boneheaded moves  I was quite disgusted, not the least impressed with Bledsoe and totally on Dragic’s side when he decided to jump ship.  So now I am a Miami Heat fan.  I have asked Santa for tickets to the Heat vs Suns game in Phoenix in January.

It is not always easy to be a sports fan these days.  Favorite players change teams, teams move, teams go through “rebuilding” phases (ie. many losses in a season) and sometimes teams play really well and everyone jumps on their bandwagon.  We true fans hang in there and enjoy what we can.

I hope the players remember that the fans are the reasons they get to be paid for doing something they hopefully love.  I hope the players think about all those kids looking up to them before they go and do something stupid.  I hope the players remember to be grateful for being able to employ their wonderful gifts. I hope the Bronco’s win the Superbowl and the Heat win the NBA championship.  And I really hope Santa brings me those basketball tickets!