Today as I was driving home from the feed store I was listening to CBC radio 1 as they asked people “Do you think sports bring people together or cause a divide?”. The responses were very interesting, most leaning towards the creation of community through sports but there were also some interesting points to be made about how sports can pull us apart.
I believe that sports are huge part of creating community and a wonderful way for people to stay fit. It is true that sports can bring out the competitive jerk in all of us but really we can be competitive jerks about pretty much anything.
A caller also mentioned selected coverage of sporting events can cause a divide – making certain groups of people feel less important. I agree that the culture around professional sports can be negative and exclusive. I do believe that this is getting better with time and more alternative news sources.
When I was growing up I was not the most fit individual and did not participate on any school sports teams. Instead I did drama classes, sea cadets, students council and various other non-athletic group activities. But as I grew up I started to yearn to be a part of the sports community; I wanted to join in and play. Unfortunately by the time I was interested my peers were fit and well practiced. It was not something I felt I could just jump into.
After finishing high school I took up kayaking and began the slow journey to fitness. It was long and hard but eventually I began to notice my body was capable of so much more. I could lift things, walk for hours and hours, kayak challenging rapids and even run without feeling like I was going to die. It was invigorating! I loved that I could do so much with so little effort, I loved the way I looked and the way I felt.
I began putting more focus of fitness by going to the gym, doing yoga all of the time, kayaking longer/faster and being more conscious about what I ate. I became healthy, active and more happy than I’ve ever been.
When I moved back to the city to go to school and settle down I decided to finally try my hand at participating in sports. It started with mountain biking and climbing with friends and eventually grew to include squash and volleyball.
Finally at 24 years old I have made it into the fold. I am playing team sports, meeting new people and having a blast. I still suck at most of the sports but a positive attitude and above average fitness can go a long way.
The volleyball community that I am oh so lucky to have become a part of (Gay Ottawa Volleyball) is especially about bringing people together. You don’t have to be gay to participate – you just have to be open and supportive. They are the happiest, kindest, most wonderful group of people. They have helped me to learn the sport and made me feel like a part of the group. I recommend checking them out and showing any support possible. This year many individuals(including Toby and myself) will be attending the Gay Games in Cleveland Ohio to represent Ottawa. If you would like to donate please send me an email, text or message and I will put you in touch with the crew.