My Appreciation for Sports: It’s a Love Story

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by Ryan Berhar |

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Refined By Fire Ryan Berhar

I am crazy about football and basketball. I even have a sports blog called The Chairman. Everyone has passions in life, some of which help them escape the hardships of this world. For many people — especially in Oregon, where I live — these are of the outdoor variety. Hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, fishing, hunting, mountain climbing, and skiing are popular around here. Some have an affection for traveling and exploring.

Unfortunately, these activities are mostly off the table for me, but I have still developed passions that have helped me cope with life’s challenges. Humor is a huge one. As I talked about in my column “Tongue Slips and Shoulder Chips,” I try to find humor in everything — even things that are not so funny.

I have always been fond of video games. Because I can’t drive a car, shoot a gun, or even see much nature, video games are my way of experiencing these things. However, virtual sports have been my favorite thing for as long as I can remember.

First of all, I love watching sports simply because of what it is. As my favorite basketball player, Kyrie Irving, said, “Basketball isn’t a game, it’s an art form.” To me, it is the most beautiful art form. As someone with a body that doesn’t work, I have a tremendous appreciation for athletes, because they get the utmost out of theirs.

Sports also brings people together in a way that little else does. It forms the core of most of most my friendships. Regardless of your political views, religious beliefs, race, background, age — if you love sports, chances are you and I will be friends. You see, my love of sports goes beyond just watching them, it percolates into other parts of my life. I discuss them, write about them, study them.

Sports has also helped me through some tough times. Back in 2013, I went through a scary time with my health. I got metabolic acidosis, which is basically a horrible stomach sickness. For me, it was more than just a typical sickness, though, since it put me into a coma. Months of darkness and hopelessness followed. My physical strength decreased, and I had some infections that took time to heal. It’s also worth mentioning that I had to go on a very strict diet. This may seem insignificant, but since food had always been one of the few things I could enjoy, being restricted to a diet of essentially just grain made this period that much worse.

Looking back on it, it was just a nasty season. But at the time, I clearly remember thinking there was no hope. Not only was I not convinced that there was a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, but I was also afraid that the light just might be a train going the wrong direction. But through that darkness, football was there for me. My Seahawks were dominant that year and actually won the Super Bowl. The crazy part is that marked a turning point in my health.

It also simply gives me something to look forward to throughout the day. I watch the NBA almost daily during the season, but the single event I cherish the most is Monday Night Football. I have not missed one in many years. No one likes Mondays, right? I’m no exception, and they were particularly challenging back when I was in school. But MNF gave me something to look forward to all day long.

You can’t count on a whole lot in life, except, as they say, “death, taxes, and insurance denials.” But I would add sports to the list. Circumstances change, people come and go, but sports is just always there for me. It’s a constant. And it is my best friend.


Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


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