Stronger Together: My Love Affair With Sport
Everyone remembers their first love. What about the time you first fell for sport?
What’s love got to do with it?” asked Tina Turner in the 80s (apologies, Millennials, if I’ve lost you already). Well, Tina, when it comes to sport, we at GamePlan A think love’s got everything to do with it.
“Driven by passion for the game, sport is the secret sauce helping us reach and exceed our goals at work, too.”
The love for sport is no second-hand emotion. Driven by passion for the game, sport is the secret sauce helping us reach and exceed our goals at work, too.
Think back to the moment in your own life when you first knew it was meant to be. We asked our community to recite those life-changing tales of when and why they got engaged to sport.
From love at first sweat to slowly warming up to it over time, the below stories (condensed and edited) are as varied as their tellers. But what unites them all is that those moments have led to long-term relationships. And as with all relationships, they need constant nourishment, commitment, and hard work.
Big events trigger big emotions
Neil Watson: “Falling in love with sport and its power to change lives happened in a defining instance for me: the lighting of the Olympic cauldron at the 2000 Sydney Games. It was the first time I realized that sport was less about the final score and more about being your best.”
Frank Storino:“World Cup Spain in 1982 did it for me. As a young boy learning to play soccer and experiencing the crescendo of the Azzurri roaring into the finals got me hooked. Cheering for the underdog, knowing that anything is possible in sport, was inspiring.”
Running has timeless allure
Jenilee Szymanski: “In the third grade I fell in love with running through my idol, my mom. I have continued to run throughout my life, challenging and disciplining myself to reach my goals. I have also passed on this passion to my daughter.”
Gabriela Moscoso Chavez: “Three years ago, I was living in Peru at 3,400 meters above sea level. In the beginning I would run through the familiar streets, then I explored further and uphill. I developed a passion for running in every city I visited during holidays or business trips. It’s the perfect way to blend in with locals and see the sun rise above mountains and rooftops.”
Anima Isser: “A year ago, I took up running just to keep myself fit. Gradually my colleagues motivated me, and now I’m at a stage where I don’t have to run, but I want to run.”
Be warned: Running can also be a gateway drug
Laura Phelps: “I didn’t get involved with sports until I turned 40 and needed a hobby after my daughter left for college. I started running and entering races. I was hooked, and finally completed a marathon before moving into triathlons. After that I knew I could do anything.”
Natural elements pull people in
Stefan Lenz: “Going to the mountains with my dad from the age of six made me love all outdoor sport. Running, cycling, and skiing were my first loves. I hated indoor activities. That was until I met a fantastic yoga teacher who opened a new world for me.”
Kelly Sellon: “In high school, I realized my love of water could be combined with racing. Hello, swim team!”
Many a heart beats for football
Jochen Wenzel: “Soccer has been my passion since I was four. I started playing in the streets, and as I matured, so did my skills, passion, and drive for the game. It helped me develop into the person I am today. Love the sport — live the life.”
Rita Zalazar: “I became interested in football in the fifth grade because I wanted to specialize in a sport that most of my peers in the Philippines knew nothing about. I played for 11 years. Today, it’s nice to see people here recognize and love football.”
Chris Meyer: “At the age of three, I went to our local sports store with my dad and he bought me my first pair of soccer shoes. I wore those shoes every day in the garden, using our swing as a goal, with my dad and my brother. I never wanted to take them off.”
Sport brings families together
Zoe Nikitaidis: “The smell of wintergreen takes me back to my early memories of Welsh rugby: cold Saturdays spent as the ball girl. Raised by young parents, I not only watched them play, but was happy to play in the same Women’s Hockey Team as my mum. The love for sport was passed from generation to generation.”
Toni Keeling: “At less than one-year-old, I made history with my dad when he pushed me for half of the Auckland Marathon, the first year it passed over the Harbour Bridge. Fast forward 14 years, and we ran over the Harbour Bridge together in my first Half Marathon.”
Sometimes, however, all it takes is a movie
Cheska Sia: “One of the first movies I remember watching was Space Jam. I have fallen deeper in love with basketball ever since.”
Sport connects us to a (sub)culture
Hannah Hlavacek: “In primary school we used to play Brennball (similar to baseball). A few years later a Baseball & Softball Club opened near my village. This was the moment I fell in love with professional Brennball, through which I always felt connected to the American way of life and doing sports.”
Andrew Tomlinson: “I bought my first pair of adidas Gazelles in blue. I would go out in the street with my boom box and meet friends. We would breakdance, spinning on our hands, backs, feet, and heads.”
The love of sport, in the end, is everlasting
Elana Monteleone: “I’ve loved playing sport since I was a kid, but been even more grateful as an adult. Time spent in the gym or on the taekwondo mat provides the ultimate distraction from whatever worries I have. Sport is a forever love.”
Kari Zohner: “Sport, from a very young age, was my release. I could go out and compete, be me. As I grew older, it became my way of becoming a better version of me: competitive, hard-working, goal-driven. It taught me the power of team. Today, I give back as a soccer and softball coach hoping to make a difference in someone else’s life.”