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Ladies and gentlemen of the Harvard Class of 1999, wear sunscreen.
If I could offer you one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.
Specifically, wear sunscreen while playing golf on a glorious day in the springtime; there is no feeling like that one pure shot that makes you beg to play the next day.
But while I am on the subject of advice, here's some more:
Root for the local teams, even if you maintain your old allegiances. There is nothing like actually going to a stadium and watching a game that you care about.
Learn to watch hockey, especially the playoffs; the game is still pure, and you can tell the players actually care. Where else are you going to see some guy have 90% of his teeth knocked out without missing a shift?
Every once in a while (not more than that), talk trash. It's fun.
Watch Pete Sampras at Wimbledon before he retires; he is a once in a generation talent and never will you see someone make something so hard look so easy.
Watch the World Cup. You may not like soccer yet, but the whole world stops for this event for a reason; the U.S. is just behind the times.
Go to the playoffs.
Paint your face.
Lose your voice.
Get on the Jumbotron!!!
Enter an NCAA Basketball pool. Then, root for the upsets, no matter what happens to your picks. The five bucks are worth the excitement of watching some podunk school celebrate its impossible defeat of College Basketball University.
Coach a team: Little League, youth soccer, whatever it is, you'll be challenged and rewarded.
Go up strong.
Read a biography of Muhammad Ali; see what a difference an athlete can make.
Wish there were more like him.
Tailgate, and do it with style. Get a cooler of your favorite beer, a grill, and some quality meats; I'm talking barbecued chicken, steaks, maybe a sausage or two. There are few things as enjoyable as imbibing some tasty brew and digging into that steak you just grilled up.
Learn to play golf. There are tons of reasons. It's a game you can play when you are old and some day you'll retire and what the heck are you going to do with yourself? You can play by yourself. It is a game that constantly challenges you, yet almost always provides some positive reinforcement. It is a business skill. Everyone else is doing it.
See a game at Fenway while you still can.
Beat Cabot; you'll feel good about it.
I'll feel good about it.
Do something amazing on the field of play.
Scream at the top of your lungs afterward.
Watch the Super Bowl in some bar amongst total strangers. Be amazed by the instant community that forms.
Keep on (or start) playing sports, and take it seriously. Join a league. Compete. Care. This is what sports is all about.
This last statement was the real lesson of my four years here at the Crimson Sports department. In many ways we, as writers or editors, were looking to continue our relationship with competitive sports by working with this newspaper.
No varsity team would have given me a first look, let alone a second one. So, I decided to write about those athletes with that little extra genetic or motivational boost. But...it simply was not the same. Writing about sports and being a part of the game are different things; the lessons learned from competing transcend what actually occurs on the playing field.
So, grab hold of your youth and, in addition to watching, play sports. Make time. Fight. Struggle. Work on your game. Win. Lose.
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