Seeing people talk about their passions with a glimmer in their eyes and excitement in their voices warms my heart. It shows that they have things they care about enough to help them keep going. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some who have shared their passions with me.
One found a love of running from a young age through high school. He stopped his freshman year of college, but found his way back to running when he tried out for the college cross country team. This past year, he trained persistently for his first marathon and has even said that his perspective is one that is filtered through the prism of running.
I met someone else who had a fervent admiration for football and basketball so much so that it was the topic of his honors thesis. He ultimately went into sports consulting, and I can’t imagine a more fitting career. He explained that he loves watching football because “winning and losing are part of life. You learn that mistakes will happen.” It was almost as beautiful as Jamey’s (from Sierra Burgess is a Loser) reasoning for why he loved football. “Every game is like a story. For a few hours, there are villains and there are heroes. Every pass is a triumph, every tackle is a tragedy. You’re all hurtling down field at this one epic goal and every second matters.” He took me to my first basketball game which was an exhilarating experience and I’m grateful, for I finally see the appeal of sporting events.
Another friend began to play soccer after his dad introduced him to it in middle school. His weeknights are spent playing intramural soccer and his walls are covered in Atlanta United flags, jerseys, and posters. He once said he doesn’t think he could ever love a team as much as this one.
When asked what their passions were, each one could confidently tell me about their respective sport, they favorite teams, and athletes. While I absolutely admired their fervor, I wondered if I would ever be that passionate about such sports For most of my life I’ve been mostly disinterested in them because athleticism is not something my parents value.
When I was young, my dad putting on his Atlanta Braves baseball cap meant that it was the beginning of a road trip. He would always talk about us eventually attending Braves games or Georgia Tech football games until one year he lost his hat on a ride at Universal Studios. When we took that final plunge on the Atlantis ride at Universal Studios, his cap flew off and into the pool of water we’d eventually make a splash in several seconds later. We were unable to retrieve it, and any chance of being introduced to sports hopelessly sank away like that poor cap he loved so much.
Recently, I received an email from a juice company that said “Make it Delicious. Make it Nutritious. Make it Accessible. Make it Affordable. Make it for Everyone.” I was upset because this brand that I adore is not affordable for the majority of people, yet they had the audacity to make such claims. It then dawned on me that a passion doesn’t have to be a sport. It just has to be something that sparks something inside you. Bringing nutritious food to those who can’t afford it and making it truly accessible is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I want to pursue this in medical school to bring lasting change for those in my community.