Sports: A reflection in life’s mirror

Stories are everywhere we look. It is 2:52 a.m. in the morning as I write this column. It is an odd hour to be up writing, but I can attribute it to being a cook in the Marine Corps. Early morning is when my energy level is at its highest. People who have worked third shift for any amount of time know that your body clock won’t let you adjust even when you want to.

In this upcoming week, I will write a story about Shane Powell, a man bound to life in a wheelchair. Powell is the girls softball pitching coach at Kingman Middle School. Maybe you have heard of his story. I felt compelled to write this column not only about his new normal, but life’s new normal.

I find the best in human beings on sports’ playing fields, and the ugliness of life off them. I know the human spirit will allow us to adapt to any situation life throws at us, whether good or bad. As I sat talking to coach about his life-altering tragedy, one that he caused. I wondered how he accepted his fate. A life confined to a wheelchair and how he found the way to continue to live at peace with himself and his family, while not being bitter.

There is a saying that life is 10 percent of what happens to us and 90 percent of how we respond to what happens to us. It’s easier to deal with a crisis for the short term. We learn to deal with things life and other people have thrown at us; it makes bad things easier to accept. How do people deal with the bad things they have caused, and done to themselves?

How do people learn to live a new normal and continue to function? I wonder to myself how people stay active and engaged in life? As Powell said, “You just keep moving forward one day at a time. Life goes on whether you’re here or not.”

I believe sports are not only a part of life, but life itself. This coach found an outlet for his competitive spirit through the release of playing pool. He credits this sport for saving his life.

I happened onto Powell’s story at the Tack Shed, and he wasn’t on my periphery. He is a member of the American Poolplayers Association. I was doing my due diligence as a reporter seeking other voices for my pool story.

I had been there over an hour talking to Chris and Lisa Lee, owners of this APA franchise, about their involvement in this league. When I was ready to leave, I decided to interview coach. When I first talked to him, my interest in him was as a pool player in the story, but then other things started to emerge about his life. He told me of his desire to compete in sports and how pool saved his life.

Powell showed no matter what happens to us; it is about how we respond. Normal for one person might be a new normal for another. Life does not define us. We define our life by the choices we make and how we live.

Speaking of choices, this time next week my editor Shawn Byrne will be married. Byrne and his wife, Val, rescued a puppy from the animal shelter a while back to complete their new family. I’m wishing them every bit of happiness life has to offer and that their love lasts in dog years.