Beyond common sense
Suffering is the essence of life.
The first time I remember hearing that expression, or truism depending upon your worldview, I was half-asleep in an early morning philosophy class at university.
At the time I raised my head off my desk to mumble, still half-dazed, “Life? I want to be the blue car.”
“Please go back to sleep,” a classmate requested of me.
If you think about it, saying that suffering is the essence of life seems odd on the surface. The essence of life should be spending time with loved ones, enjoying good things and good times.
At least that was how I always understood it. But last weekend I think I gained an understanding into why suffering is the essence of life.
As you may have read this week in The Sun, or, hopefully you were there to see it; the GHS Lady Ridgerunner basketball team won their bracket at the NEO Tournament in Miami last Saturday. The Championship Trophy was the first NEO prize for the Grove girls program but more than that it was a barometer for just how far the current Lady Red squad has come.
Last season at the NEO the team went 0-3. The season as a whole was a 3-21 affair. It was a long winter.
And so as I watched parents, students, faculty, and other family members linger on the gymnasium floor following the Lady Red historic win my old philosophy professor’s words started to click.
Of course suffering is the essence of life. Without suffering and hardship how can any of us have a true and real appreciation of the good times?
Angling for a raise
There are a couple of things about public thank you lists that make me kind of nervous.
The first and obvious one is that as a person is giving thanks to all those that deserve it there might be an instance where someone is left off the list or accidentally forgotten.
And, part of me thinks that sometimes a big thank you list is- in a way- a bit self-indulgent.
Having said all of that I am going to indulge with a thank you list here. It will be a short list out of necessity; if I gave thanks to every person whoever helped me meet my goals then I’d be at this keyboard for many, many months. I hope I have thanked all of them as I went along.
Maybe after looking over my thanks to a special person you might be motivated to reach out and thank someone in your life.
I want to thank my boss, editor, and friend, Kirsten.
Kirsten always showed confidence in my abilities at this job when there were times that I thought I might be in a little over my head.
Kirsten always had trust in my judgment on those occasions where I had to do work that time did not allow an edit for.
Kirsten always let me set a lot of my own agenda and she let me try new ways of doing things here at the paper.
Kirsten always offered me support and encouragement in my work. She also offered a lot of praise for it, even when we both knew that some pieces I did were just things I “phoned in.”
Kirsten taught me many “tricks of the trade” involving how to structure a story and how to take better photographs.
In all, Kirsten was, and is, the ideal boss that every employee wishes for. And I am very, very grateful.
I think the general public settled the question long ago about whether professional athletes are role models or not. The answer was, for better or worse athletes are role models.
But it extends beyond the professional arenas, a case that was driven home to me this week.
As most parents know all too well school was closed down here in Grove for the better part of the week due to some wintry weather. With school closed and the majority of my assignments cancelled I had a little bit of free time on my hands so I got to hang out with my son, a little Ridgy first grader.
It was nice to have a little break from duties and it was agreeable for me to be able to move out of area gymnasiums for a short time.
Since the weather was miserable outside my son and I turned to the Play Station as a way to kill some time. Usually I try to teach him the finer points of winning the Monaco Grand Prix on the gaming console (“Son! They put a brake pedal on there for a reason!”) but he wanted to learn how to play the college football game this week.
So we loaded it up and went about the task of choosing teams. And when my son saw the oval G on a team selection screen (for the University of Georgia) he knew which team he wanted to be; although he was confused as to why the game programmers misspelled Grove!
So we started playing and my son told me, “I want to play as Corey and Kyle.”
“Who?” I asked.
“Corey and Kyle- they play for the Ridgerunners!”
I never knew the boy was paying attention at the football games last fall. Usually he was the kid they were talking about when the PA would announce for parents to keep their kids off the track. But he picked up on a couple of players, anyway. And thought highly of them, obviously.
A Ridgerunner athlete is a good role model for kids. I’ve been to many GHS athletic events and I’ve always witnessed the student-athletes displaying lots of class and integrity- even in the face of just the opposite from opponents or their fans.
Wins and losses are one measuring stick for success in athletics. But the way a team and/or athlete carries themselves on the field of competition is a better meter of success, I think. All of us in Grove can be proud that our student-athletes and their coaches are World Champs in citizenship, sportsmanship, and integrity.
As a sports editor I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the giant spectacle this weekend known as The Super Bowl.
My wife and I are having another couple over to watch the game and I’m looking more forward to visiting with them than I am the actual game itself.
As for the game, I’ll be rooting for the ‘Cards but I think the Steelers will win it in a walk.