By Ron Edwards
As a little child growing up in Cleveland, things were very rough for me physically. The ravaging effects of asthma and hyper allergy suffering were totally abysmal, to say the very least. Things were so bad, our family physician told my parents not to allow me to run around as little boys are prone to do. That doctor said that keeping me indoors, all summer long was the best approach. My mother bought into what the doctor prescribed hook line and sinker. On the other hand, my wonderful Dad agreed with me when I logically concluded that the less I was allowed to do, the less I would be able to do, rendering me to a mere weak and droopy existence. My Dad commended me for being able to see the folly of the doctor’s wrong headed approach to my severe asthmatic and allergic challenges. I was nine years of age at the time. Soon after, my dad and I embarked upon a secret approach to the situation.
We understood that mom who worried too much. She also believed that no one knew more than the doctor and to go against even the smallest details of the doctor’s mandate, was just too much for her to bear. Dad and I understood that she meant well, but the long term quality of my life was at stake, so Dad and I secretly mapped out a well thought out methodical plan of action. Dad was an expert of physical fitness. He worked out regularly and had been a drill sergeant in the Army. So, I was in capable hands. To start, he taught me about the importance of stretching exercises. Every morning I would rise 30 minutes earlier than my usual time to conduct stretching movements. I improved quickly and did notice feeling better in between bouts of asthma attacks. The stretching was also great, because it was a quiet activity that didn’t attract my mother’s attention. Before long, Dad was taking me on “errands” three to four times per week. Actually, those “errands” were walks in the sunshine which improved my circulation and overall health. At the time, the asthma was still a regular chronic issue, but the doctor noticed an improvement in my overall health.
You may wonder what does all this have to do with sports no longer about competition? Plenty. Despite my condition, both my parents were very adamant about me doing well in school. For them there was no excuse for me not to excel in my studies in order to assure I have a better shot as success throughout my life. Dad and I also enjoyed watching or going to sporting events. I learned early on that sports is the physical compliment to competing in the classroom. By the time my Dad passed away when I was twelve years of age, I wanted to compete in sports. Dad left with me a long term plan to work out and gain physical strength. By then I was secretly doing body weight workouts. Of course, my doctor was taking full credit for my better physical well being. But in reality, the asthma attacks were just as frequent as before. The only difference was that my physical training lessened the impact of those horrible asthma attacks. By high school I was working out with weights after school, running sprints and jogging.
Despite my vast physical change from a weak and droopy daffodil into a very strong lad, my mother never realized it was working out, not the doctor. I concluded that I wanted to play football for my high school. My mother would never allow it. But I tried out for the team and easily made it. I was stronger than many teammates who did not have asthma. I forged my mother’s signature on a permission slip and she didn’t find out until after the third game, when coach called to announce a special team meeting for first stringers. I was being elevated to first string.
Of course, my mother went to nutsville and told me to quit the team. She exclaimed that I could die, etc. etc. I told her that I would die if I existed in the bubble she and the doctor agreed I should live in. For me, sports represented an avenue equal to that of a good education that could also lead to a fulfilled life. The comradery, the teamwork, moral principles and even the prayers before and after practices and games also seemed to be a help in my life far beyond the field of play. Those great coaches often reinforced the great principles first instilled in me by my Dad. Since the time of coach Knute Rockne and before, sports has been a tool to inspire young men to become better citizens and in some cases turn to God. Sports was a unifying factor among American fans who left the cares of life behind to enjoy the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Sports was also associated with patriotism, until recently. Now ungrateful bigtime in their own mind anti USA bigots like Lebron James, Kevin Love, numerous NFL, and MLB and even NHL stars are philosophically more in line with Al Sharpton, Chairman Mao and Ali Obama, than with the principles and philosophies of those who built the very institutions they are blessed to participate in.
Sports leagues have been coopted by the cancel culture and other assorted leftist leaning organizations and hateful self centered anti American haters of Christianity and anything else that encourages the improvement of ones quality of life. It is heartbreaking to witness such a life enhancing way of life that helped me in so many ways, now being used to literally help destroy the fabric of all that is good about our republic. May we who know better band together and by God’s grace defeat and reverse such madness. God bless you God bless American and may America bless God.
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