And not just working, but enjoying the time and nature of that work.
From my earliest years to this very day I have been surrounded by sports and competition. As a family, the sports we played, watched and talked about on a daily basis brought us closer and taught us many life lessons.
Whether it was Dad making me laugh on our basketball court, his best form of defense, or the bumps and bruises from my older brother and sister as we played one-on-one, the memories are endless and always seem to put a smile on my face.
With that in mind it is that I realize that some of my favorite things... sports and competition... have given me a golden opportunity to “do” what I love for a living.
Each time I walk into a high school gym I remember how it felt to put on that jersey and represent my school. When I smell the popcorn popping and hear the music blare for the teams’ warm-up, I feel like I’m somewhere that I belong... A familar sancuary of sorts.
Everytime the National Anthem plays, habit and an anxious feeling force my feet to sway me side-to-side as if I were about to take the court again. I love that feeling, it too is one of my favorite things.
The hustle and ability I see every night from the local athletes I now watch gives me chills and reminds me of why I love the game so much. The endless hours spent by players to get better and to help their team win shows so much character on the part of the young people in our community. I often wonder how I got so lucky to have the privilege of this job.
While the closest thing to superheroes we have (professional athletes) seem to fall daily into corruption and scandal, I still cheer for the “good guys” on my favorite teams. Because the players who truly do love the game and embrace their fame and role model position deserve praise.
And although I’m not sure which player’s poster will one day hang on my (seven-month old) son’s wall as an inspiration to him, I have hope that he will not be disappointed. I have hope that his life will also be uniquely molded by the athletes he looks up to, as well as by the memories our family will make through sports.
I hope to pass along to him some of my favorite things, including my passion for sports that has given me so much in return.
Ali Keaton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org