By Patrick Larcom
As the oldest of six children in a military family, I have lived in nine states and Germany, adjusting to a new place and people every few years. Each home posed new challenges, from finding the bus stop to making new friends. As the world around me constantly changed, it would have been easy to retreat indoors and invest my energy in portable, consistent activities: me, myself, the computer, and I. Luckily, my parents had a knack for seeing the world through sports and passed that vision on to me.
Spacious fields were for playing soccer, frozen ponds were for playing hockey, and tall mountains were for skiing, especially in the Alps. Playing three sports in high school forced me to manage my time so that I could excel academically and athletically. Without sports, I would not have fond memories of my youth, made friends around the world, or done so well in school. Reflecting beyond my childhood, I realize that sports form my backbone, supporting me as an Army Brat, a student, an engineer, and a coach. Rowing, most of all, has given me an opportunity to learn, follow, lead, make friends, stay healthy, be competitive, and excel in life.
Looking outward, Sport is glue that can hold society and people together. Sport is a way for two nations to battle for glory. It allows both sides to push each other to the limit and walk away with respect. Sport unifies the young and the old whether it’s cheering for a favorite team or competing at any age.
So why are sports a part of our everyday life? How have traditions, rivalries, and national pastimes survived the test of time? People play sports because they’re fun. Sports are fun because every participant is given a chance to compete. It’s not the thrill of the outcome or the opponent that matters. People enjoy competing because they’re given an opportunity to test themselves and their abilities in order to experience the thrill of an improvement toward a greater cause. Competition can be both individual and team oriented. Sport incorporates competition into our daily lives and allows us to have some fun and experience the journey.
Life needs passion and I believe it’s found in the relationships and experiences we build with others through sport. I know that I’ve found a purpose and passion in life through sports, rowing, and coaching. I believe others find that same passion every time they sit down to watch their home team or get out and throw a ball with their kids. Sport teaches us leadership and competitive spirit. A love for sport allows us to move to new places and make new friends. Sports bring focus, responsibility, and time management to developing youth. I have not rowed on the national team, but I still have a love and passion for sport. Sport brings that fun and passion to everyone’s lives and let’s us live life to the fullest.