Tuesday, December 26, 2017

I'd Rather Be Lucky AND Good

The New York Yankee, Lefty Gomez once remarked "I'd rather be lucky than good." His words became a popular adage I think about quite often. Would you rather be lucky? or good? I hate to disagree with the five-time World Series champion, but I'd rather be good. And, I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority with this choice. Why? Luck is just so appealing. Good luck makes everything look and feel easy—it's nice to have your shots fall, your putt go both up and in, and with lady luck the numbers, cards and stars align. A lucky person wins the lottery and the lotto. They never walk away from a raffle empty handed, their flights are always on time, their drinks are comped and the upgrade is perennially underway. 

Frank Sinatra once sand "Luck be a lady, tonight!" If luck is so lovely, why choose the good? I choose the good because of what my mom has always told me: "you make your luck." I love her charge. Her wise words imply that if you work hard and do what's right, things will fall into place. Luck may have something to do with winning, but really, a team does what it takes to make the W happen. Hard work, perseverance commitment, leadership, teamwork—those attributes have nothing to do with luck. They do, however, have everything to do with what makes championships possible. 

But something happened this past semester that has led me to consider a third way—a hybrid option, if you will. Is it possible to choose not just luck or goodness—but both? I ask because that is the only way I can describe my good fortune when I inherited a group of 26 students in this year's Sports and Spirituality class. 
This group consisted of three football players, two baseball and one softball player, a sailor, a rower, and one robotics champion. I had a golfer, a gymnast and a water polo captain. There were three lacrosse players, ardent sports fans and a Kobe aficionado. I always appreciate having a tennis player and Notre Dame fans in there—I had both. This group had both male and female basketball players, a dancer, track athlete, volleyball star and the only female who has played on the SI football team to date. They were faith-filled and fun. They listened and laughed not at one another (ok they did that too) but more often they laughed with each other. We debated the decision of NFL players to stand, sit or kneel during the National Anthem, not once, but many times. Some of my favorite lessons from them were
I've worked hard to make Sports and Spirituality into the class it is today. An elective course since 2010, no single semester is exactly the same because the wide world of sports is ever changing. I have taught this course during World Series and NBA championships. Our local team has made a run for the Super Bowl and our school to keep the Bruce Mahoney trophy. But it's never just the content—the articles, the videos, the Sports in the News that makes the curriculum what it is....without a doubt, it's the students themselves. Their hearts and their minds, their experiences and stories, their loyalties, passions and their prayers  make it memorable. I've had good classes before and I've had challenging ones too. I do not take for granted who comes into the classroom each day. This year, I had not good students—I had great ones. I'd say that for my luck too.

My next posting will feature the annual classic: images of Sports and Spirituality, taken from the students themselves.  Thank you class of 2018—I miss you already! 

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