Monday, December 31, 2018

Reflections on: 18 For 2018

My good friend Erin has given me many gifts—an introduction to Spring Lake, NJ, most of my beloved Dunkin' Donuts paraphernalia, and a sporty pair of shoes replete with interlocking ND—but her greatest is one that has done what it claims to do: make your life a little happier. In June of this year she wrote, "I wanted to let you know I’m dipping my toe into the podcast world! Have you listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin? She’s the one who wrote The Happiness Project that I scoffed at for many years but finally read and loved. She has a podcast with her sister with all sorts of fun and interesting tidbits. Check it out, I’ll be curious if it’s up your alley!" 
Image result for to do 19 for 2019
I listen to several podcasts and this one ranks among my favorites. I've been inspired and integrated many of their recommendations—one of which is the idea behind this posting. 

In Episode 199 "Evaluate Your '18 for 2018' List," Gretchen and her sister/cohost Elizabeth Craft reviewed the 18 goals they set for 2018. I am going to set 19 for 2019, but for this final posting of the year, I will offer 18 accomplishments and actions that occurred and that...made my life a little happier. I hope you might consider a few to make your 2019 a little happier, too.

1. Listen(ed) to Happier
I had to start here. Without listening to the podcast, this list wouldn't exist. It's one thing to receive a recommendation and another to implement it. As with anything, consider the source of the rec. and take the appropriate action.

2. The creation of: Sports and Spirituality Synopsis 
The Sports and Spirituality development of 2018 in which I take the most pride. This bi-weekly resource is for coaches, athletic directors, parents and athletes who are seeking tools for athletic ministry. It's free! You can subscribe through my blog (box is one the side panel). Please share it with others!

3. Read Qaddafi's Point Guard
An easy read and a pressing one. This is the story of Alex Owumi, a Nigerian native who emigrated to the United States at age 11. Owumi's exploits on the basketball court led him to a successful career as a small college player. Undrafted by the NBA, he pursued his pro basketball dream overseas, eventually signing with Al-Nasr of Libya, a state-run athletic club privately funded by the family of then-Libyan president Muammar Qaddafi. 

Owumi's tenure with Al-Nasr was interrupted by the Libyan uprising and resulting civil war. Imprisoned in his Benghazi apartment for more than 2 weeks with no food, phone, Internet, or hope, Owumi wondered whether he would make it out of Libya alive. His faith in Jesus Christ was a source of strength and sustenance that you must read to understand.

4. Listen(ed) to Why Sports Matter
A great resource for deepening your awareness and appreciation for how story can deepen our spirituality. One of the best stories I have ever heard came to me through this new podcast. Read more here.

5. Ate an Apple a Day
Thanks to FIERCE, I was ever more encouraged to use Advent as a time to prepare for the coming of Christ. I set nutritional, spiritual and physical goals and used the on-line journal to hold myself accountable. Eating an apple a day is a good nutritional habit and an easy one. I haven't seen a doctor in a long time...

6. See(ing) Your Team in Enemy Territory
Attending a game "on the road" or as a guest sharpens your vision—as a spectator. The simple compare and contrast that occurs from entering into enemy territory has enhanced my experience as a fan and faithful follower of the Irish...the Giants...etc. AND, winning in someone else's house? Not bad.

It really was this beautiful out.
7. Attend(ed) a game at your high school
In September, I returned to Winton Drive to see the De La Salle vs Bishop Gorman football game. I went to see the Spartans play on Owen Owens field for four straight years when I was in high school. It was good to be back—even though some things have changed, a whole lot hasn't.

8. Play Together
Whatever sport you play and practice, include others. Invite new people to join you. Play often, play alone...but play together with your children, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, your team, your friends, your frenemies. Something transformative can happen in the act of play....

9. Play(ed) Dominos
Like cards, there seems to be an infinite number of games one can play with dominos. You can play games with one person or many more. Dominos are easy to transport—play indoors or outside. Play with the young and the old. Play for money or pride, or both!

10. Practice(d) with a Friend
Critical to becoming a great golfer is the willingness, the discipline and the wherewithal to practice. This is true for any sport, activity or passion you pursue. I have told my own golfers that if they aren't partial to practice, they must trick themselves into doing so. Listen to music, set up a schedule or for me what it takes is to practice with a friend. I did. The time goes by so much faster.

11. Got the Best Kind of InsuranceIt's possible that I might need more excitement in my life, but in March of this year I paid what I consider to best the best insurance possible. While most people get insurance for that can go wrong, I got it for what I hope goes right. I now pay $4 a quarter? a year? for what is known as hole-in-one insurance. Should I get one, I won't be paying the bar bill. I would like to thank the Olympic Club in advance....we'll see.

12. Find our the athletic heroes of your heroes/favorite athletes of your favorite athletes
I was not surprised that George W. Bush Presidential 
museum in Dallas featured his love for baseball. However, I was surprised to learn that his favorite baseball player was Willie Mays. I am always interested in learning who inspires others. To know that W values the Say Hey Kid...San Francisco's own, made me respect 43 in a new way!

13. Celebrate an Achievement
I did not grow up in a home where we toot our own horns. Our personal achievements have always been viewed as something we ourselves, should enjoy and hold as intrinsically valuable. I'm glad my parents value humility, however, once in a while, it's ok to go for it. That's why when I hit my first Eagle, on the Lake Course of the Olympic Club in January, I let it be known. I hope to have many more...I might not. Great venue to get this done! Still celebrating...

14. Give Blood
I write for Genesis, the alumni magazine of St. Ignatius College Prep, where I teach. My favorite article to pen this past year was about our annual blood drive, organized by the Block Club. I learned so much about the importance of giving blood and the selfless and priceless gift given by countless student athletes, coaches, teachers and others thanks to the mobile blood bank. To find out where and how you can give blood, look here.
15. Breathing as Prayer
It is still difficult to think about the extent of death and destruction caused by the wildfires in northern and southern California. We continue remember those who lost so much in our prayers.  One of the most meaningful ways I have since prayed is breathing as prayer. This spiritual discipline resonates with young and old. 

16. Make a List
A friend told me that his father made a t0-do list every single day. If you were to review his planner, you would see the same item at the top of the list... every single day. Can you guess? Yes, #1 said: make a list. This action ensured some sort of success. After all, momentum begets momentum. I will begin my "19 for 2019" list when I finish this blog!

17. Take a lesson
I don't know a person who can't benefit from some sort of instruction—a spiritual director, a personal trainer, a life coach or in my case, a golf coach. Another person with skill, wisdom, acumen and insight can see what we cannot. If you want to get better, consult another. Even the best golfers in the world have coaches. I took lessons knowing this is how it has to be...that is, if I want to get better. And I do.

18. Pray and Practice with Purpose!
I continue to reference and speak from my book, published in 2017. I am grateful for the people I have met because of this resource and I hope it is of use to those who read it.  I have another three to four books in me. I hope to find the discipline to finish one in 2019! Time for that list

Photo Credits
18 in 2018
Qaddafi's Point Guard

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I'm downloading that podcast right now. I love podcasts too. I listen when I'm doing anything that resembles a chore and it no longer feels like one.