Last week we had a Sabakiball league game in Arizona. It is the second game we’ve played since the lockdown rules have relaxed, and it feels so great to be together again. The inventor of Sabakiball, Michael Cerpok, found out earlier in the week that he must begin Cancer treatments again – the fifth round in his 13-year battle with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This devastating news did not stop him from coming onto the field and enjoying himself. Instead of letting fear and despair take hold, he takes every opportunity to enjoy life and be with his Sabakiball “family”.
This same group of league players just recently lost one of our Sabakiball “family” members unexpectedly. She was a parent to a couple of our long-time players. The whole family has been involved with Sabakiball for over eight years. The players who started when they were children are now both adults. Throughout the years, both parents came to every game and contributed by coaching, cleaning up, keeping score, helping run special programs, and recruiting other players. By far, this family has had the most impact on Sabakiball! They epitomize the qualities Sabakiball looks for in its sports community – love, support, contribution, fair play and caring. Even with this loss that saddens all of us greatly, the family is still on the field every game living life and being with those who support them in this heartbreaking time.
2020 has certainly brought into everyone’s lives tragedy, uncertainty, and fear. The stories that make news are sensationalized, stoking the fires of outrage and anxiety within us all. But looking around my community I see such inspiration! These two examples that just happened in the last month are REAL people, REAL situations. We don’t hear about them in the news because this is LIFE. Tragedy happens. Heartbreak happens. Loss happens. The inspiration comes in when we choose to continue with happiness.
Inspiration is around us every day, everywhere. Supporting each other. Giving to others to help, not to gain recognition. Reaching out to engage someone who has withdrawn. Embracing life’s ups and downs even when we are down. Open your eyes and look around! Let those who inspire you just by BEING HUMAN, like these two heroic situations above, know what their actions and example means to you. Let them know you recognize their strength and honor. INSPIRATION…PASS IT ON.
We have all had to learn new rules, new restrictions, and a new way of life that may be quite different than what we are used to. Although learning new things is uncomfortable, frustrating, and sometimes painful, mankind survives and thrives by adapting to change. The human spirit is very resilient!
As we slowly emerge from the Stay-At-Home restrictions, much like a groundhogs peeking their heads out from their safe burrows to see if it is safe to come out, we will naturally feel apprehension at the same time we feel excitement. We will feel cautious at the same time we will feel free. What changes will there be in the next few months, and what changes will last far in the future from this pandemic?
Sports, in particular, are asking these same questions. How do we keep players safe? Spectators safe? How and when can we go back to what we used to know – playing and watching team sports with people sitting together enjoying the competition and the company? We will most likely look to professional sports to lead the way, as they are in the limelight and easy to observe. Many established sports will either need to adapt to the change or wait longer to go back to the old ways, if at all.
Many times, we are forced to change. Something drastic or devastating needs to happen before we can see outside the box of familiar rules and expectations. Sabakiball is all about Breaking the Box. Looking at the usual, the familiar, and changing it for the better! This is how Sabakiball was created and why it emerged into such a unique sport that it is patented. With this pandemic, some of Sabakiball’s rules will already fit into this new way of life – like the non-contact rule. Other rules may need to be modified.
Just last weekend, we tested a new way of playing Sabakiball. The veteran players in Arizona, where the Stay-At-Home orders are slowly lifting, played with modified rules. It was difficult to change our old habits, but it was fun to try something new! If we can look at change as more of an adventure to experience than something scary to resist, we will go with change seamlessly. There is an old saying: Be as strong as an oak but as supple as a reed. This is the essence of adapting. Breaking the Box. Changing things for the better.
So, as we cautiously step out into the new world, have a sense of adventure. Be excited to try new things – it may be better than before!