A Lesson We All Need to Learn: There's More To Life Than Sports

Jake LivinstonCorrespondent IMarch 5, 2009

Times are tough in the America right now. People are losing their jobs left and right and the economy continues to go down the tubes.

One thing that has remained is sports. Sports are great and have boosted morale during this recession, but sports aren't everything and shouldn't have a huge effect on the way we carry out our lives.

Last week, my church youth group went to a homeless shelter in inner Chicago. Going to the shelter was not mandatory, but we were encouraged to go.

I told myself that if wouldn't hurt to go and I nonchalantly slipped my hand into the air to volunteer for the trip.

We were going to serve soup and sandwiches and give out used clothing items that the church had been collecting for a month.

Before I went on the trip, though this is hard to say, I took sports too seriously. When my team would lose a game they should have or could have won, I would mope around in a foul mood.

In the NFL Playoffs, when my Indianapolis Colts lost in overtime to the San Diego Chargers, I went to my room, slammed the door, and broke one of its hinges.

Losing never came easy to me and, even though I knew I took sports too seriously, I couldn't find a way to lose this habit.

I had never looked at my life as a lucky one. I had everything you need to live and much, much more.

But the people at the homeless shelter that day had nearly nothing, and despite their lack of material possessions, they seemed content and were very grateful and excited people when given even the smallest of gifts.

There was one boy that I distincly remember. I won't mention his name, but he was an orphan who showed up at that shelter about a few weeks ago with barely anything.

When I handed him some of my old clothes, he had the most grateful look in his eyes. He was truly grateful and happy for the few clothes he received. I had never really thought about the clothes I wore, but simply put them on.

And then something hit me: Here I was, with a family that loves me, a house, heat, hot water, lots of food, a television, a bed, a computer, even an iPod, and so much more.

But even with all of those blessings, I would get angry and be in a foul mood after my team would suffer a defeat. You could even say that sports were my downfall.

But all of the people at the shelter were happy with what they had, whether it be a free t-shirt or a toothbrush.

That day, my Youth Group was simply feeding them soup and sandwiches and giving them clothes, but their expressions were priceless. They had experienced poverty and were content with what they had.

I then realized, there at the homeless shelter, that there is more to life than sports. There's no need to get angry or just feel down and blue because of a loss. It's not the end of the world (or so we hope).

After all, life could be much worse. My parents could both lose their jobs and have to foreclose our house or I could be an orpan like the boy from the homeless shelter.

So, if your bracket does terrible or your team gets upset in the first round this upcoming March Madness, don't take it too hard.

Before I close out this article, I want to give a huge thanks to that homeless shelter in Chicago for changing my outlook on life—I now know that life is a birthday cake and sports serve as the icing on the cake.

While sports are great, there still is more to life than sports.