Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Real Wake Up Call

For the second time in less than twelve months, Melbourne Tiger Sam MacKinnon is battling a potentially life threatening condition in which multiple blood clots were discovered in his lungs.

When I heard the news of MacKinnon’s health I couldn’t help but stop what I was doing and take a minute to reflect on life.

I thought about how playing basketball, something MacKinnon has done professionally since the age of 17, could no longer be part of this dual Olympian’s daily thoughts and routines. The possibility that something he has dictated his life to for so long could be gone and that possibility has got to be devastating for him.

Just last Wednesday, I spoke to him about his health and he was very positive and up-beat about how his recovery had progressed. Everything appeared to be looking up for him after battling one thing after another for years.

Mental note to self: As cliché as it may sound, you may truly never know when your last game has been played.

The second set of thoughts that ran through my mind were along the “what’s next?”. This incident is yet another example of the fact that athletes need to have a Plan B in place for life after sport.

When we are young and invincible, it is difficult to grasp the concept. We are happy to falsely suppose that basketball will carry us on through life,…at least the first 10 or so years of it.

Mackinnon is age 32 and only two short years ago was named as the NBL’s MVP. In February of this year MacKinnon was inked in for his third Olympics until the first round of clots appeared. Hard not to assume that his guy didn’t have quite a few solid years ahead of him when he is performing at such an amazing level. I highly doubt that anyone would have picked this big, tough athlete out of a line of people to be inflicted with this type of health scare.

Thankfully, whatever the outcome for Sam, he and his family had begun to put the wheels in place to secure a life after basketball and, with any luck, this will carry them through if the worst case scenario becomes a reality for them.

As for me, I have 16 games left in the regular season and, if it’s okay by everyone else, I think I will cherish each one of them on their own individual merit.

And when the offseason roles around, I think I will take care of those last few university classes I need to graduate. I have always knew I would get them done ‘someday’. I think that someday is now.

You can find my article in the Townsville Bulletin every Wednesday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what degree?