Sports is a field that provides an identity, a ritual, a profession, a routine, a culture, a bonding, a hobby, a risk, a release; Sports allows us to break away from stress, to compete, to celebrate, to find meaning, to exercise our gifts, to cultivate play, to strengthen relationships, to learn, and more.* I am learning during this intermittent break, and yet recent, different start of sports during a pandemic.
Sports without fans or sports where the screams and yells of fans are second-guessed with physical masks... I am aligning with play in other ways at this time. I’m learning to find entertainment through other means. I am learning to be creative with my self-and relational-care. Yet I still fill the void.
The offseason was preparation for this extended absence, and I believe we tend to have the opportunity to prepare for and get ready (to some extent) for what we face. I am sitting with the discomfort that grief can birth and listening to grief as it shares with me information about practicing gratitude intentionally and consistently, about relinquishing control, and about how loss can birth creativity.
From a professional standpoint, I empathize with all athletes who are experiencing athletic identify concerns. When your identity is so heavily tied into what you do and what you are gifted to do, working is self-care. An extended vacation from a job you hate is much different than an unintended leave from a job that you love. There are multiple perspectives to this change, and all stories are valid and valuable and often need space to be processed and explored. Demonstrate kindness today through listening. What are you learning about yourself and the world around you during this break from sports "as normal"?
*Be mindful that often words are inspired by my many experiences as a professional and as a person, credit due is typically warranted but breaking down where inspiration comes from may be more difficult during the integration process.