Somebody recently asked me, “Why do you play so many sports?”.
This person was referring to the fact that over past several years I have been actively pursuing Soccer, Yoga, Surfing, Poker, and Crossfit as my main sporting activities. Yes, I do consider Poker as a sport. And at the same time, I indulge in Biking & Swimming, whenever I get a chance. Well, the question got me thinking…
First of all, how did I get started in so many sporting activities so late in my adult life? As a kid growing up India, the only sport I played, for the most part, was Cricket. And I was not physically active by any means. I believe following were the triggers that led me on this journey.
One of the triggers was spending four days in ICU with my Mom when she had by-pass surgery following a cardiac arrest. I became friends with one of the ICU doctors attending to my Mom and he explained to me how with a healthy lifestyle, one can keep all kind of cardiac disease at bay. Unfortunately, my Mom didn’t survive after the surgery and that had a lasting impact on me as an individual.
I am a father of a nine-year-old boy. When he was 4-5, we enrolled him in Soccer. I used to just sit outside while he played. And I asked myself, “Why?”. I had never played Soccer in my life and was 32 pounds heavier than today. I resolved to lose weight, stay fit, learn Soccer or any other sport my son plays and try to keep up with him. And that’s how my journey started.
Growing up, I always watched my grandfather & father play different card games with their friends on daily basis. In the case of my grandfather, I felt playing cards not only kept him happier since he could socialise with his friends on daily basis, but at the same time, I think the mental stimulation from card games helped him stay alert, use his brains, and avoid dementia and other diseases of the brain. I can observe this in my Dad as well, who is mentally alert despite being retired for past 15 years or so. Poker is that card game for me to provide me intellectual stimulation, help me increase my decision-making capabilities and manage my emotions. More on this in my next post.
Those were the triggers, but what keeps me going is the reward. Apart from good health, I have learnt some valuable life lessons by being active in these sports. And that is the subject of my next post.