BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – Author Robert Fulghum once wrote, “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.” Since I skipped kindergarten, I created my own mantra: “All I really need to know I learned playing sports.”
I spent New Years with one of my oldest and closest friends, Alison Desir, who, knowing her, probably agrees with my mantra. She is an endurance runner who, like me, believes sports possess the power to ignite positive change in the world. Through her blog, she encourages people to “Find meaning on the run.”
On New Year’s Day I decided to run after a two-month hiatus. On the run I thought I would try searching for meaning. The first person I thought about was a young family member who spent New Years Eve in the hospital in pain, battling cancer. Then, I thought about various people I have encountered throughout my career. Ty Campbell lost his battle to cancer at 5 years old just like the many children I have met at Roswell Park. The P.U.N.T foundation, Carly’s Club as well as Ty’s parents relentlessly raise funds for pediatric cancer research to help children who are currently suffering from cancer. Eric LeGrand went from a Division 1 football player to a quadriplegic after a hit in a college football game. He pushes his body daily in pursuit of his goal to one day walk again. Leah Manth is a young girl who suffers from Neurofibromatosis 2, a disease that causes tumors to align along nerves. As her condition worsens, her passion for sports only grows stronger.
To kick off 2014, I looked to sports once again to provide me with an education. This time, it did more than just teach me a lesson. On the run I found meaning in the way I pursue my life. The more my mind thought about other people’s struggles, the further and faster I ran. The length or speed of my run had no direct impact on the situations of the aforementioned people. I realized I don’t run for others, I run with others. The run simply represents how I pursue my life. I may not face the same fierce enemy as others but if I pursue my run and my life with a fighting spirit, I stand on the battleground with those in combat. By making the most of the arsenal of weapons I have been given, it is my way of showing respect and support for those that have fewer weapons but engage in far more intense wars.