Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Chance for a Dream

By Jared Trexler

Sports is a microcosm of life.

Celebrations don't come without sacrifice. Chances taken are dreams earned.

They seem like fluffy words striking a blow of improbability to one's soul. Dreams conjure words like lottery, money, fame, luck.

Yet, this column is about different dreams. Not the dreams of chance, but those built upon the foundation of chances.

On Christmas Day, Will Smith's Pursuit of Happyness hit the theaters behind a wave of applause from critics nationwide.

With just cause. It's a real story about real people, not a dramatization supported by reality but built up by the money of Hollywood.

It was a perfect movie for the holiday season because it asked so many subtle, inherent questions of us. Our lives. Our hopes. Our dreams.

As the 2-plus hour chronology of one's life played out on screen, life's most general themes came to the forefront behind a loud, resounding premise.

What are you willing to sacrifice in the pursuit of happiness? What obstacles are you willing to meet head on, what failures are you prepared to overcome in order to achieve one of this country's oldest ideals?

Are you willing to sacrifice the present? Are you prepared to pack up all of your personal belongings and move 300,000 miles away from the only friends and family you've ever known?

In the film's sense, are you willing to sleep in a NYC subway bathroom for weeks, covering your child with a coat -- one that holds your last five dollars and one stick of gum?

All for a dream?

It takes a certain kind of person to answer those questions with an emphatic "Yes." A person unsatisfied with the safe job, the safe house, the safe spouse. An individual who understands the depths one must fall to before the loud and proud climb to the top.

Maybe the last penny in the bank account exemplifies hard work and perseverance rather than monetary negligence.

Athletes ask those same questions everyday. Is it worth it? Is lifting on an off day going to make me that much stronger? Is extra film study going to make me that much smarter? Is how I react to failure going to shape my ability to succeed?

In one word, YES.

Sports legends are the people who missed a three-foot pressure putt before they made one. Threw a costly interception before tossing a game-sealing touchdown.

Some players have instant success before they meet obstacles. Andre Agassi burst on to the tennis scene as a brash, artistic American star behind the slogan, "Image is Everything." He grasped instant success including a Wimbledon title in 1992.

Tiger Woods never lost on the course, until suffering a greater loss off it with the death of his best friend, sports mentor and most importantly father, Earl. He returned to golf by missing his first cut at a major.

Agassi soon dealt with an up-and-down marriage to actress Brooke Shields that threw his priorities and passion out of whack. He eventually responded.

Woods won the British Open and PGA Championship later in the season, finishing with more money and tournament victories than any other player. It was the stuff legends are made of.

Think about those challenges in your life, comparing them to athletes or maybe just friends and family if you wish. Decide which road you want to travel as a New Year beckons.

And enjoy this You Tube soccer presentation detailing the greatness of perseverance in sports. Chances lead to legends.

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