The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

June 15, 2014

A Don McCormack column: For the love of sport ... and more

The beauty of sport is its ability to be a wonderful metaphor life, albeit without the final result.

None of us will live forever, though we are all guilty of spending way too much time and effort trying to do just that.

After all, in the big-picture aspect, each and every one of us is truly day-to-day.

But take a look at the two accompanying photos. They show the ecstasy and the agony of athletics.

The contrast is startling, tugging at the heart strings because we’ve all been there.

Young, innocent and full of life, experiencing what at the time, were the highs and lows of sport.

The first shows Jonah Anservitz of the Marlins running off the field at Cederquist Park the other night after hitting a home run in a major-league game, a ball many in attendance didn’t even realize had cleared the fence, only heightening and magnifying the moment.

Jonah’s expression is wonderful, a smile running across his face. But it’s the expressions on the faces of his teammates — his buddies — that make this terrific moment captured by our own Warren Dillaway so spectacular.

Is there anything better than shared accomplishment, achievement or success? No man is an island, though at times, life does indeed make us feel it to be the case.

Sure, you can bet Jonah was thrilled for his yardwork. However, if you didn’t know who had hit the roundtripper, then looked at the expressions on the faces of Jonah’s pals, could you discern who just left the yard?

A magical moment, indeed.

The other image packaged here shows David Chase, who has just dropped the curtain on an off-the-charts, multisport career at Jefferson.

David, a relative giant with his 6-foot-7 frame, is shown alone with his thoughts as he struggled during the early portion of the high jump at the state track and field championships at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium last weekend in Columbus last weekend.

Entering his third state meet having recorded the best jump in Ohio, there were huge expectations for David. However, none more so than his own.

The fact he struggled clearing some heights he normally would do with relative ease only magnified the enormity of the stage on which he was performing.

Since he was a freshman, so much was expected of David, in every endeavor on which he embarked.

It’s not easy being Goliath, as the biblical David proved. But somehow, some way, the Falcon persevered, being an All-Ohio athlete in three sports during his four years.

And, as is the case with so many of our young people who call this area home, David is even more successful off the athletic stage. He’s a solid, full-of-character-and-class young man, always respectful of not only his teammates and opponents, but also for sport... for life.

Which makes Warren Dillaway’s photo of him hanging his head a bit, alone with his thoughts, so poignant. Even the strongest, those we all perceive to have the world as their oyster, have difficult moments.

Just as Jonah’s blast left the yard at Cederquist Park the other night showed how pure joy cannot be bought, sold nor traded, David, refusing to allow the final moment of his high school career before he heads off to Hillsdale College in the fall, be detritus is perhaps just as special.

He rallied to earn a fourth-place finish in the Division II state high jump.

Which magnifies the beauty of sport being a metaphor life. Each and every one of us gets knocked down, put on our knees. And as we grow old, the issues we face only seem to increase in severity, be they related to finance, health or the crushing loss of those we hold near and dear and treasure, making getting back up so painfully difficult, many times.

Time waits for no one, of course.

But for Jonah Anservitz and David Chase — and literally, thousands of others in our neck of the woods and millions across the world — they have their entire lives left in front of them, ready to be played out, having not yet been dogpiled as they most assuredly will be down the line.

The fact we are able to share their highs and (relative) lows along the way, provides us with a beautiful perspective and allows those of us who are so blessed to be entitled with capturing such moments, be it with a camera or the written word, to remember just why we do what we do.

And how truly fortunate we all are.

We all know how this life is going to turn out.

It’s perhaps the biggest reason we play our games.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at donmac@suite224.net.

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