Funny Sports

by Rich on October 9, 2017

There is a stand-up comedian that I really enjoy named Brian Regan. I’m not going to go into all the reasons why I think he’s brilliant, but I will say that I can, without reservation, recommend you look him up and watch some of his videos. And I recommend you do that with friends, family or coworkers in the room, no matter their age or gender. He’s that good. But that’s not really why I bring him up.

A few days ago I was cruising through my Twitter feed (I follow Regan on the Twitter dot com) and noticed that Brian had sat down at Google for a chat (apparently that’s a thing they do on a regular basis at the Church of Google. Kind of like their own internal TED talks). The format was an interview followed by a Q&A with the audience. In the course of the interview it was revealed that Regan played football in college. Football. Brian Regan. I was blown away.

I’ve been watching Regan’s stuff for years. Not once has he ever mentioned or included in a bit (to my knowledge) the fact that he had played COLLEGIATE FOOTBALL! (He does have a hysterical bit about being at bat in little league baseball, when his coach would yell “Good eye, Brian!” every time he took a pitch that had most likely been a strike.) But no mention of football. As he began talking about it, it was clear that playing the game (and participating in other sports) had been a big part of developing the skills needed to endure the ups and downs of a life on stage, and to persevere and become successful. And that made me think.

How many other people, famous or not, played college sports?

I live in a college town, so it’s not uncommon to see former student athletes around town. But I only recognize the ones that are fairly well known. So I started to ask.

It’s amazing how many people have participated in college sports. I talked to a woman who played volleyball in Virginia that runs an accounting firm. I spoke with a former swimmer from California who works for a high end import custom shop. I met a guy from Chicago who ran track and is now a prominent cardiologist. And that’s just the beginning.

I asked all of them the same thing. How did participating in sports in college prepare them for life after the games where over? some of the answers surprised me.

One answered that the biggest lesson he had taken from the game was that winning wasn’t everything He said that he had always been a very competitive person, but he had learned that the important thing wasn’t winning, it was competing. Being in the arena, as Teddy Roosevelt once said. Another told me that her biggest take-away was figuring out how to deal with overbearing personalities. She was an introvert and not very competitive, by nature, and had learned how to stand up for herself and demand the respect of others on the team, including coaches.

I have to tell you, it was fascinating! These were all very normal people. No superstars or multimillionaires. Just people who had competed.

And that’s the point. Sports does a lot for the spectator, but the real value is reserved for the competitor. It may be a welcome distraction for us, but it implants crucial life lessons in them.

Even if they do become stand up comics. Good eye, Brian.

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