Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lives of Daring Adventure!

Our hockey team is once again excellent. Currently they’re 12-0-1 and atop the GNASH standings, having just beaten Centennial 9-2 on Friday night. I was able to see them play on Wednesday night against Ravenwood—a very good team—which they tied 2-2.

I am always amazed when I watch a hockey game how gracefully hockey players skate. They’ve been skating for so long now it has become second nature to them, almost like running or walking. Watching them, you’d think skating was easy, but if you think that, you’ve never tried or forgotten the first time you did try. Even the most gifted athlete, the first time they try it, will look and feel like a klutz. The first time I tried to skate I was about 27. I clung to the bar around the perimeter of the ice rink, holding on for dear life, but even that didn’t stop me from having five or six spectacular busts. And it doesn’t help when you’re struggling to your feet, trying to preserve whatever vestige of manhood you have left, that little 6 and 7 year olds go blazing past you, backwards, forwards, spinning. I used to be a pretty good athlete, but I sure didn’t look or feel like one that afternoon.

The first time we do anything is usually the hardest. Girls, if a guy calls you up and asks you out and he sounds pretty smooth, don’t think he hasn’t practiced that phone call privately 15 or 20 times and worried about that phone call all day. If you’re going out for a sport the very first time, the most difficult day is the first practice, because you don’t know how you’re going to stack up, and you don’t want to look like a fool next to your peers. If you’ve never spoken in front of people before, it takes courage to do so, and you’re likely going to fidget and stutter the first time you do.

We have a tendency to avoid the unknown. It’s a human tendency—most of us don’t like taking risks. And yet we know that taking risks is necessary for a healthy life. Fellas, assuming we don’t want to live our lives all by ourselves, we’re going to have to make that phone call or ask a girl directly to go out with us at some point. If we’re ever going to play a sport, we must go through a first day of practice and if we’re ever going to give a talk, there’s always that first time.

High school is a time to take some risks. I’m not talking about bungee jumping or parachuting, but the risk of exposing yourself in the classroom by raising your hand to give a really good answer (even if your friends may tease you for it), or really striving or an A and not the path of least resistance, or hanging out with a different group of people because you have more in common with them than your old friends, or joining a new club, or even starting a new club.

I think too often we judge the quality of a school by ACT averages and college admissions. Yes, our student body does very well by those measurements. But there’s another measure, maybe a more important one: how creative are you? How innovative? Are you mindless automatons, doing whatever the masses do, or are you a risk taker, someone willing to be ridiculed for doing something new? What new, amazing clubs could we be sponsoring if there were someone willing to risk starting something new and willing to ask teachers to be the moderator?

With the two snow days and the weekend, I’ve been inside my home now for almost 4 straight days. I’ve started to feel a little claustrophobic. The truth is, when we don’t break out of what is safe for us, what is "home", our lives begin to feel a little claustrophobic, boring, dull. Take some risks. Bust it a few times, like I did that first time skating. So what?

Helen Keller once said: “Life is either a daring adventure, or it is nothing.” May you all lead lives of daring adventure!

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