Wednesday, December 5, 2018

"Why Sports Matter: A Podcast that Offers Story and Spirituality

In today's Gospel, the disciples ask Jesus, "Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?" The Lord does not answer with words, but with action. He takes what they already have—seven loaves and a few fish and gives thanks. From a place of appreciation and gratitude, Jesus breaks the bread and the crowd partakes. Everyone ate. All bellies were filled. There were even left overs. Amazing! 

But what if I told you the hungry crowd was fed by something other than bread or fish? What if Jesus answered the disciples' question with something that nourishes our hearts and minds, rather than our bodies? What if the bread which He offered was made of events and happenings, memories and tales from our past? No flour, no water, no yeast. No. What if what truly satisfied the people in this deserted place was a story. Would you believe me? I would. I do.
Why? How? The longer I live, the more I find true sustenance in story. It need not take an actual story for me to learn this lesson, but Barry Lopez—an author and poet—captured this truth so well that I haven't let go. He wrote, If stories come to you, learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. 

Lopez teaches me that stories are a gift. I'm not sure we can look for them, but rather let them come to us. And when they do, they aren't meant for us to hold tight. We need to share them. We ought to pass them on, but note his caveat "where they are needed." Don't let them fall on deaf ears. Don't just pass them on without consideration. Reflect and examine who needs to know. Who might be hungry? How might be in need of sustenance? Share your story there...then.

So here's my story to pass on. Actually, it's not my story, this one belongs to Sadie In the Woods. It's her personal story of Resilience as captured on the podcast "Why Sports Matter." 

Available through iTunes as well as PlayerFM, "the episode explores resilience through two young leaders in the Native American community, and how they’ve used basketball to overcome immense adversity and build better lives for themselves, their communities, and future generations."

Sadie in the Woods of Pine Ridge Reservation, tried to commit suicide at the age of 11. When the rope that she used to hang herself broke, Sadie failed at something for the the last time. How? In the wake of her failed attempt, she noticed something incredibly vibrant, alive, pulsating, and invigorating. It was a Duke basketball game. She wanted to be a part of it all. The miracle is, she did. She was! Ask Diana Taurasi. Give it a listen. Unbelievable. 

Sadie In the Woods narrates much of her own story. Her memories, her voice and inflection, her honesty and her smile (yes, you can hear it!) provided me —the recipient of her story— with a different type of nourishment. I feasted on hope and awe that a young woman like her could achieve her dream and find new ones along the way. I would like to thank Gotham Chopra and his Religion of Sports company for creating and hosting the “Why Sports Matter” podcast.

He says, "In general, I think podcasting demands great storytelling. You can’t rely on cinematic images to deliver emotions for you – it’s all in the ability to communicate through words and sounds. So I think that pushes storytellers to be even more diligent in what they want to say and how they want to say it.”
Sadie In the Woods
He said the audio medium leads to very different approaches and choices than his TV work.

“It’s a different sort of storytelling. With filmmaking, you can rely a lot on the visual material you insert into the frame to help you communicate an emotion or evoke a mood. With podcasting, there’s no such luxury – it’s about the words and sounds coming from someone or something and that requires a degree of attention and story crafting that is very different.”

I want him to know how grateful I am for the stories I have heard thanks to this new podcast.... and for the opportunity to give them away.

Photo Credits
Sadie in the Woods

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