My early years were flush with sports. As my loved ones can attest to, I took great joy in physical activity and could play and practice an almost unlimited number of sports. If I persuaded you to shoot hoops or play catch, you would have to announce when you were stopping, because if left up to me, we wouldn’t. Free throws by moonlight, skateboarding around in circles in the garage in wintertime, getting a family friend to open up the middle school gym. I suppose that my long hours of practicing propelled my abilities even further than my natural athletic abilities that I was blessed with.

In the 9th grade, they moved me up to the varsity basketball team. I earned a spot as the starting point guard on a senior laden team. It was such a formative experience for me. Not only was my game being tested and developed intensely, but my character and maturity needed equal priority for me to handle the increased visibility, critique, bigger demands, locker room politics, petty jealousy, older teammates and pressures that come with them.

It was fun and I excelled. My senior year I earned All-Conference, Honorable Mention All-State and joined the 1,000 point scorer club in basketball, also joined an excellent group of Red Wing athletes winning the All-Star Athlete Award.

I attended Carleton College in Northfield, MN and continued to play sports. Football, basketball, tennis, golf and club lacrosse. Until mid-way through my studies, my time and energy were mostly devoted to my gifts as an athlete. The people and culture of Carleton stretched my intellectual curiosities to such a degree that slowly, sports faded as a priority of mine. I cherish what athletics and team sports have taught me. I hesitate to say that I was deficient in other areas of education and development, yet my singular focus on sports certainly didn’t allow much time for other pursuits.

Nowadays, I tend to believe that America’s hyper obsession with sports doesn’t merely represent our love of competition and entertainment, but our susceptibility to following inconsequential events and news rather than topics with the upmost consequences on our way of life and the health of our children.  We idolize athletes and not scientists. We follow the NFL Draft not the Afghanistan war.

I’ve been on a lot of teams in my life. But the most powerful team experience that all others pale in comparison to was with my boys in the US Army Dive Company, 86th Engineer Dive Team. This level of shared sacrifice was incredible. Deep Sea!