Today I find myself in the wake of the Winter Olympics, the stretch run of the NHL season, and the buildup to March Madness. Many sports fans claim that they could go out on the field, court, ice, etc. and play their favorite game as well as a professional athlete. Others have tried and realized that sports are not their calling. As somebody who never had that chance, I feel like I offer a unique perspective on the world of sports.
Dan played junior wheelchair basketball, and a few of his friends and teammates continued playing in college. Some are now overseas playing pro ball. And while it's not nearly as common as an able-bodied athlete becoming a star here in the U.S., they've been able to make a living as a professional athlete. It is outstanding that it has worked out for them, and it shows that they are just as dedicated as any other athlete.
Meanwhile, I have played Challenger League baseball, a small amount of power soccer, and wheelchair floor hockey. But athletics for people who use power wheelchairs have not reached the same level of popularity as other sports in our society. This does not diminish the importance for those who play and those who support the players. When I participate in sports, I am out there to win and to have fun.
Some of our readers may be thinking that I never got a fair shake. While that may be true, the reality is that life is sometimes unfair and I have learned my way of coping just as anyone else would with any other hardship. Sure, I sometimes get frustrated and angry, but it's never anything I dwell upon.
If I had the opportunity to play any sport, I would have picked baseball. I have always been a die-hard White Sox fan, and have always loved the game. I would have wanted to play shortstop, but I would have been fine with any position as long as I was out on that field. It's always fun to think that I could have been a Hall of Famer, but God only knows if I would have been any good at all.
In all reality, it would have been great to have the opportunity to play any sport I desired. Honestly, it was just not meant to be and that's just fine. The name Christopher Sanchez will not appear in the box score of any sports section. Because of that, I feel like I can watch a game without becoming frustrated with my own physical and athletic limitations. I'm not trying to say that I never criticize athletes, but that is something that is often unfair and negative. All it amounts to is wasted words. So while one can criticize players for making mistakes, the people who do that never enjoy the sport for what it is: a game played by athletes for our entertainment.
I feel that the lesson here is simple. If you can't hit a baseball, make a three pointer, throw a spiral, or score a goal, it's okay. There is something else out there for you. It is important to accept what you can or can't do. I know that it's easy to become angry and negative. You just have to get past that. I realize that I should not lash out at others, no matter how much talent or money they may have. I guarantee that as impressive as high-caliber athletes may appear, there is also something that you are able to do that they cannot. Don't waste your time on criticism and frustration. After all, nobody really knows what they can do until they go out there and try it for themselves.