Sunday, August 5, 2012

Kaleidoscope of Courage

                 I've been thinking a lot about courage lately.  The dictionary tells us the noun -courage is the ability to do something that frightens one. However ask an athlete and they might say courage is when you know things could get worse or you could get hurt but you persevere or when you know you are more than likely going to fail and you do it anyway. Now ask a student what it means and they might say courage is doing something outside of your comfort zone like taking organic chemistry at 8 a.m. or taking an internship thousands of miles away from home. So what is courage exactly?
         In 1996, Yankees pitcher David Cone thought he could shake it off when his pitching arm went numb during practice. Due to the continued numbness in Cone's arm, coaches decided to bench him for the game. Turns out Cone had an aneurysm in that pitching arm, though he tried to be courageous and continue playing through the pain, that's an instance where courage meant having the strength to speak up and step down. 
         Let's look at another story of possible courage - NBA Boston Celtic's small forward Reggie Lewis. In '93 during off-season practice Lewis was shooting around on the court and died of a heart attack there on the same court that birthed his career. Earlier that year Lewis had collapsed on the court during a play-off season game against the Hornets. At the prime age of 27 Lewis portrayed the athletes definition of courage, doing something though you know things could get worse, all for love of the game.
         While I've been up here in Alaska courage has meant one thing and that's being a team player. That has meant doing anything from herding elk with nothing but your words and wimp-intern linguine arms to being a tour guide for a bus full of disgruntled tourists. Courage isn't something you're born with it's something we all, athletes, students and interns alike, have had to cultivate for ourselves individually. So next time whether it be the final seconds of the game or an unexpected pop-quiz striking fear in your heart, take a breath and jump on it!