Reflections Life’s Meanings Great Athletes
Sports Illustrated reported great athletes and their reflections on the meaning of life. The reports were varied and insightful. I’d like to share them with you.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball great, led the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships.
Kareem reflections state, “The ‘less moral’ way can be very tempting. Like everyone, I am always in a kind of battle between my lower self (the part of the me tied to society’s pettiest goals: greed, selfishness, narrow-mindedness) and my higher self (the part of me that cares for others and acts for the benefit of the community). The Koran guides me. It teaches that some of the reasons we are here are to exercise personal responsibility, to evolve the higher self and to influence that development in others.”
Arthur Ashe, tennis player and sports consultant, was the first black man to win the Wimbledon and U.S. Open Championships.
“‘Why are we here?’ may be the wrong question to ask because, as an organ with finite capabilities, the mind cannot consider the infinite possibilities the question implies. It would be like asking my four-and-a-half-year-old daughter to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity. It requires a tremendous leap of faith to come up with a reason for being. And I don’t think anybody can have an answer he believes in with rock-solid confidence.
In trying to concoct a reason for existence we’ve created theologies. Given my travels as a tennis player, I have been exposed to Buddhism, Shintoism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Santeria, Animism. And I have always been perplexed to find that most of the world’s great organized religious tell you they have the only answer. Christ said, ‘No one cometh unto the Father but by me.’ In Islam, Allah is God and Muhammad is His one true prophet. I kept thinking, ‘Hey, somebody’s got to be wrong!'”
Despite my skepticism that any one religion can provide universal truths, I have synthesized many faiths and come up with some basic ideas. One is that all we see around us, living or inanimate, couldn’t have come from nothing. There had to be an original cause. The second idea is that my life is part of a continuum that goes back as far as life itself has been around and that will be around after I’m gone.”
Yogi Berra, former major league catcher and manager, is the sage of baseball
“Who knows why we’re here? No one knows. You can say you do, but you can’t. All you can say is what I said. ‘It ain’t over’ til it’s over. And that’s all.”
Dave Scott is a six-time Ironman Triathlon winner
“It’s not the distance that overwhelms people who race Hawaii’s Ironman Triathlon. It’s the relentless wind that blows across the lava fields. You’re on one of the highest ridges, you see miles of repetitive road to Hawi, and you realize it’s extremely hot and you’re going straight into a 30-mile-an-hour crosswind. I’ve found that those who dwell on these conditions tend to fold. I always train for adversity. I consider adversity an asset, something to turn around to my advantage.
One of life’s most important lessons is learning to put your losses in perspective and to savor your triumphs by riding on euphoria’s wave. Have high goals and expectations; regard defeats as stages on the road to success by remembering the little victories that have gotten you where you are.”
Mary Lou Retton was the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in gymnastics
“We are each put on this earth to make a particular contribution to humanity. Some as teachers; others as housewives, executives, athletes, doctors, farmers, actors or politicians. The list is endless. Although God, the Almighty has a plan for every one of us, He gives us choices. It is our responsibility to make the best of those choices in order to achieve our ultimate purpose.
God gave me a talent to do gymnastics. But I had to choose to completely dedicate a number of years of my life, to the sport in order to make the most of that talent. As simple as it sounds, we all must try to be the best person we can: by making the most of the talents, we’ve been given, by treating others as we would like to be treated. If we live by God’s rules, during our relatively short time on this earth, we will be rewarded greatly with eternal life with God in heaven!”