Sports offers escape

Published 10:28 pm Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hearing the perforated sound of a large chunk of my bankroll being torn from my hands by a local municipal traffic court got me down for bit.

I climbed in my vehicle, bearing my new $525 licence plate, and grumpily returned to Pike County feeling how, with a swoop of the pen, I had paid for a good portion of the road in which was being paved, forcing me to slow to a crawl as I tried desperately to make it to an appointment on time.

That didn’t happen.

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What did happen was a phone call that took me out of that world and into, as Happy Gilmore called it, my “happy place”.

The call was about volleyball. I know, I know. Volleyball? But it was volleyball that took me out of my teeth-grinding, hair-pulling world and into the place where the car tag, the construction, and the meeting didn’t matter.

That’s what makes sport so important to people. It’s the escape everyone seeks. You can work all day and have everything go wrong that you could imagine but for three hours sitting on the 40-yard line, it doesn’t matter.

When I was coaching some of the kids had problems at home or didn’t have the structure they needed or deserved and, at times, weighed on them greatly. I would tell them that no matter what happens at home, in the classroom, with your girlfriend or whatever it may be, you always have an escape. You have two or three hours where the only thing that matters is you and your teammates and that they are behind you 100 percent no matter if you cleaned your room, or what you made on a test, or what your boyfriend or girlfriend is mad about this time.

Sports brings out the best in people whether on the field or in the stands.

Truthfully, it is fantasy world. Unless you collect a check for your efforts on the field of play, the result does not matter. But the lessons learned through sports are long and deep and for some are the most important lessons they will ever learn.

Sports offers a condensed version of life with ups and downs, triumphs and defeats. It has it all. But most of all, it doesn’t have a lot. No bosses, no time cards, no deadlines.

Sure coaches can be demanding but that’s the life aspect. So, I guess, more than anything sports has just enough life to make it constructive but is just detached enough to make it fun.

No matter, the fact that on any given day you can sit back, relax and drift into your own “happy place”. The place where tickets, tags, and work trucks don’t seem to bother you so much.

Volleyball never sounded as good as it did that day. Fortunately for me, I get to do it everyday.