I am starting to become like Andrew, thinking of the things we shall miss when we move to Boston in late August.
I have already written about how I shall miss my job, and Andrew’s family, and our church, and the friends I have made in Minnesota, and the decent and welcoming environment of Minneapolis itself.
Another thing I shall miss about the Twin Cities is the group of guys we join for basketball once or twice a week. They are a great bunch of fellows, All-American to the core, and I don’t think Andrew and I will meet that kind of person in Boston.
The activity of sport is something about which those who have never participated cannot understand. Participating in sport adds an invaluable dimension to one’s life, although that dimension is difficult to define.
I am not referring to the belief, among some, that participating in sport helps BUILD a young man’s character. I have never for a moment believed that participating in sport helps build character. I did not believe that in the seventh grade, and I do not believe that today. The full spectrum of human behavior, best to worst, may always be witnessed among sportsmen, just as it may be observed among the population at large.
The activity of sport, however, helps REVEAL character, and participating in a team sport will generally reveal a great deal about the character of one’s teammates and the character of one’s opponents. Amidst all the play and amidst all the competition, unspoken rules come into force, and everyone learns to fail to observe these unspoken rules at his peril (the penalty is always subtle but instant ostracization). Young men who do not participate in sport must learn these unspoken rules by other means, and often they are unable to do so, to their lifelong detriment.
Further, participation in sport fosters socialization and teamwork skills as well as ingrains a sense of fair play, qualities necessary for success in business and professional fields—and, I would argue, qualities necessary to maintain healthy personal relationships.
I can always recognize, a million miles away, a person who has not learned the lessons that sports impart. Such persons are generally socially awkward, if not completely graceless, and they invariably fail to recognize that their peers maintain a distinct arm’s-length distance from them.
I like and enjoy and value the easy and close friendship and comradeship of our basketball buddies. I like the pre-game chatter and rituals, and the games themselves, and the winding-down period after the games. I also like the late-night suppers that follow, whether hamburgers at Ruby Tuesday, or the Farmer’s Breakfast or Swedish Pancakes at the Edina Grill. The suppers are full of talk, food and fun.
I’ll miss all of this when we leave Minnesota.
I shall also miss the dog.