Most folks look at the word love as a noun - it's a thing, an item, something you gain and lose. It's something we feel, we possess. It's something that happens to us, that we hold onto, that we cherish, and in some cases fear. We tell ourselves that all we need is love. We symbolize it in rings, in jewelry, in art, in poetry. The noun 'love' isn't a choice, action, or decision - it's something we feel in ourselves and are granted from others. Right?
Let's re-examine the word love, but this time as a verb. Love isn't something we have, it's something we do. When we love something, we give our all to it. We can actively love someone or something. Love as an action makes the world a better place, our relationships a stronger bond. Love isn't an item, but an act. Does someone really love another if they don't actively show that love? Is love as a noun really love at all? I would argue no - if we truly, deeply love something we show it, we work at it, we give it. Love is a feeling that we must act upon in order to truly bring it to life, for it to mean something.
This idea of love being an action evokes the strongest connections to our interpersonal relationships, as it should. But, let's look at it from the perspective of sports. How do we love football, or baseball, or whatever sport we say we love? How many young athletes say they love a sport? How many put in the work, consistently, to get good at that sport? Are they using love as a noun, or a verb?
One of my favorite parts of my job is seeing a kid who truly loves a sport. He works everyday to get better at it, puts in the work even when no one is watching or giving him credit, who looks for new avenues for improvement. He doesn't just enjoy playing, or want the attention, or like winning; he truly loves the sport. He shows it in his work ethic, in his dedication, in his pursuit. He shows it in his relentless attention to detail, in his consistency of purpose, in his spirit to succeed.
When we look at love as verb, we also turn love into a conscious decision instead of a happenstance feeling. Loving something is an action we choose to do. We all have the benefit of conscious choice. If we feel strongly towards a sport, we can choose to love it. That idea of conscious decision making is the root of our motto, "Choose Greatness." We have choices we make all day. Love is a choice, and when you choose to love a sport you give yourself the best opportunity to succeed at it, to achieve greatness.
What choices do you make, each day? Do you truly love the sport you play, or do you just say you do? Choose Greatness.
SPU's Alex Drayson and Matt Migiano write the SPU Athletic Performance Blog.
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