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  • Writer's picturePeter Pawlowski


As a once professional soccer player, I missed not knowing any meaning greater then the game. Sure, I had fun…but fun doesn’t teach the deeper growth as a human. Fun doesn’t develop compassion, sportsmanship, work ethic, sacrifice, pride, responsibility… character. Fun is distraction, entertainment, enchantment — fleeting. To a degree all positive feelings — am I right?

Then there is the feel of competition. Which we all know isn’t only reserved for arena’s. Can having a competitive nature co-exist with doing something we find meaning with? Are gambling venues healthy environments for sports? I think our nation, communities, and down to the individual really need to look into this profoundly.

I believe sport is healthy when competitive nature includes cultural and spiritual practices. We should be asking, is the activity -in it’s self- part of something bigger then the athletes or the sport? Otherwise, aren’t you just having fun? Nothing against having some good fun, but when looking to develop our children, challenge them to grow compassionate, tolerant, mindful. Is ‘fun’ the right environment to do this?

I thought (and perhaps many parents over the years believed) that sports developed many personal developmental skills. Today I see that theory different. From leadership to responsibility, fun environments don’t have to be the go to source for guidance. Put the kid in a meaningful environment for gosh sake’s the upswing that they become educated is much more important than how capable they are to handle a snap.

So what about making a living doing competitive sports? I wish I knew the right answer — perhaps looking at the athlete’s community best provides this answer.

Do communities benefit more when athletes make money doing something that is fun or when they are doing something meaningful? Let me know where to find that case study.

So let me bring up Horse Culture. Specifically Indian Relay. A culture and sport foreign to me, yet one of the first sports ever for America. The other week I went to my local race track and watched for my first time some this exciting combination of athleticism and culture. I was drawn to the event because I feel it’s time for Americans whether they have been here for 5 generations or 1- a re-education of what it means to be American. Sports and the culture around sports is just one small piece of a greater picture. As a first generation like I am, I feel it’s vital that new immigrants are getting exposed to the truth of this country too. The cross culture that immigration brings to countries perhaps is unavoidable, but when I look at how Indigenous people responded to the first immigrants some 500 years ago, the depth of humanity shows when seeing how tribes like the Shoshone, Comanche and Apache Indian’s embraced this creature[horse]. It can perhaps be a blueprint for how humans should embrace immigrants today — Full heartedly, as if they already were an extension of themselves.

I understand as parents and communities we want to raise your child to be active and physically healthy. I understand there are thousands of choices. So if you’re reading this, this is what I see. I see a society that over compensates the attention of members for activities that don’t challenge our youth in meaningful ways. I don’t see our young adults pursuing meaningful relationships, careers, and community involvement. Therefore I conclude (for myself ), if you insist on enrolling your child in a sport consider what meaning the activity holds. Be mindful that developing personal growth within the structure of a meaningless activity evidently creates a meaningless life. If you need some inspiration check out Indian Relay. It’s rich with culture and literally is a life source for the indigenous tribes of America who have stood the test of time and oppression.

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