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  • annehope19

The Greatest Sporting Events of My Life

Sports have always been a huge part of my life.  From basketball as a kid to tennis as an adult and everything in between.  I love watching sports, coaching sports, and playing sports.  I’m just one of those people who loves to compete and loves watching competitions.


The best sporting event I have ever attended as a spectator was the Baseball World Series in 2014.  The Kansas City Royals were playing the San Francisco Giants in the sixth game of the series.  No one sat down.  The stadium was rocking for 4 hours.  The noise level made my insides vibrate. 


The Super Bowl is on my bucket list, especially if my Kansas City Chiefs are playing.  But with the price of tickets, it will probably remain there.  If sitting in a room full of people watching the Chiefs win raises my blood pressure and excites my heart to the core, I can only imagine what being there would mean! 


It’s a hard choice to determine the best sporting event I’ve ever participated in.  There have been so many great ones.  Running the Boston Marathon has to be up at the top of list.  Competitors start in the small town of Hopkinton, MA where residents come out with markers to write your name all over your body. The route is lined 6-20 people deep along the 26.2 miles with people chanting and cheering you on by name.  “Go Anne…You can do it!” 


A close second for experiences was playing in the World Cup games in Amsterdam.  It was my first trip to Europe.   I was a young, very inexperienced girl from a small town.  At the event dinner before the games began, we were served steak tartare (raw hamburger with chopped onions).  I thought I would gag.  I broke my ankle in the finals against Germany and had to be flown home for surgery.  I remember being in a drug induced state on the plane, for some reason thinking how ironic it was that Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1939.  (The mind on drugs is a mystery!)


Playing basketball for Wake Forest University was an ongoing treat.  But our Red Springs High School basketball games were an even greater treat.  Girls’ basketball in North Carolina was BIG!

Not knowing what to do with myself after college, I took up tennis and bodybuilding.  Winning the U.S.A Bodybuilding title was an amazing

experience!  Lifting twice a day for 5 hours total a day while working a job taught me the art of discipline.


I loved competing in triathlons as an adult because it taught me how to train and push my body to the limits.  I used to love exercising so hard I felt as though I would throw up!  I know…pretty weird. 


As I’ve grown older, tennis has become a mainstay.  Competing at the USTA Nationals is always a blast.  It’s hard for me to imagine a life without competition.  I suppose as I age it will happen, but while I can, I enjoy every minute of it. 


The human body is amazing!  We are fearfully and wonderfully made!  No doubt about it.  It never ceases to intrigue me how much we can push our bodies to do incredible feats.


The mere facts about the human body are flabbergasting.  I am made up of 7 octillion atoms.  (That’s a 7 followed by 27 zeros!)  There are about 300 billion stars in our galaxy, so it gives you an idea of how big that number is. 


A single human cell is made up of about 100 trillion atoms.  And the number of atoms in a single cell are about the same as the number of cells in the human body (meaning we have about 100 trillion cells in our body). 


And the creepy thing is that over half the cells in a human body are not even human!  Swarming within our human body 2-9 pounds of scoundrel cells (bacteria, fungi, archaea) that have made a home within the ducts, flaps, and folds of your body. 


In fact, there’s a good chance that some of your human cells are not even your own.  Many mothers retain cells from their babies after birth.  Those cells continue to multiply and divide throughout a lifetime.


Eventually, our bodies will fail.  As I age, I realize this more and more.  Lest I become deluded about my expectations and limitations, I recall the words of author C.S. Lewis who stated that our bodies are “both pathetically and absurdly beautiful.”  They are “a useful, sturdy, lazy, obstinate, patient, lovable, and infuriating beast; deserving at times a stick and other times a carrot.” 


My failures now keep me humble.  As much as I don’t like failure, I appreciate more the amazing durability and capability of my body.  I am grateful for the opportunity to still compete, to exercise, to achieve, to strive athletically.  It is a blessing from God.


I cannot sum up my gratitude better than the words in Psalm 139.  “You have searched me, O God, and you know me…for you created my innermost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” 

I give thanks for each day I am still able to enjoy this wonderful thing called "sports" in this world!


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Anne Hope is the award-winning author of Bent Pages...a sharp, funny, and deeply inspirational narrative.

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