From The Quality of Effort, Chapter 11 – Athletics and Life: A Permanent, Positive Relationship:
“In the movie Rocky, Adrian and Rocky spend their first date at a skating rink after Rocky bribes the maintenance man for some ice time on Thanksgiving night. During their first few minutes on the ice, Rocky tells Adrian that his father told him he’d better learn to use his body because his brains wouldn’t get him anywhere. Adrian laughs and says that her mother gave her the opposite advice—she’d better learn to use her brain because she didn’t have much of a body.
“Both funny and poignant, the scene allowed each character to share a somewhat awkward self-perception, and it also portrayed the strong sense of “perceived specialization” that characterizes so many of our journeys. We’re either smart or dumb, quick or slow, athletes or scholars, liberals or conservatives, thin or plump, peaceful or angry. We do not allow ourselves to be human beings who happen to have certain interests and talents, who have chosen certain careers or vocations, who engage sports and spirituality, and for the sake of an example, have a knack for carpentry but no clue when it comes to cooking—or vice versa. Don’t get me wrong—the differences do exist, relatively speaking, but the differences are not who we are.
“People seem easier to sort out, classify and understand if we group them by size, shape, color, sex, wardrobe, profession, ethnicity, religion, and other arbitrary characteristics. If you’re a plumber or a surgeon, we know what that means, or if you’re Catholic, or short, or don’t believe in God, we know what that means as well. While you’re in school, you may be a jock or a techie, or a goth, or a preppie, or a loner, or … you name it (the labels get outdated and updated pretty quickly). If you’re lucky, perhaps you’re in touch with that part of yourself that allows you to move easily among your classmates in all the various groups. Regardless of the category or categories you embrace, or into which others place you, the groupings don’t really matter except in people’s minds, and while that can affect perceptions, it does not affect who and what you truly are. Why not strike a balance? Why not develop athletically, as well as intellectually, emotionally, socially, professionally and spiritually, as you grow chronologically older?”
Copyright © 2013 by Reggie Marra
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