RCL Blog #1 It’s What I Do

Lynsey Addario’s quest for finding happiness has taken her to war torn places of the world where the carnage and political climate create situations that make them some of the worst places on earth. For Addario, it’s her definition of “Nice Work if You Can Get It.” She gets a front row view of life in many corners of the world. From the United States to Libya and Afghanistan, wherever the drums of conflict sound, she is there. She gets to travel around the world to seek out and document people’s lives for her living.  She brings these stories from their birthplaces to people around the world.  Her passion involves living a dangerous and fulfilling life that allows her to have love, a family, and a career. At the end of the day, followings one’s passions are what makes life fulfilling. My passions may be much less riveting than Addario’s but they don’t make them any less valid. What fulfills people is different on an individual basis.

I have three passions that really make me who I am as a person.

I love politics, I love theater and I love sports. I was raised and nurtured by these three things.   I love the stories the three of them get to tell and how they affect people’s lives and how illustrative they are to our own experience.  The competitive aspects of all three and the real-world implications of these results meld together in strange ways in my brain.  So much of my intellectual contemplations and my participatory energies go in to these three areas of my existence.

Some may argue that sports may not often have real-world implications but the thrill of participating in a game is all too satisfying.  When you participate there is a special feeling that comes with winning.  And even in losing, we are taught a lot about life though whether we win or lose we feel the passion for involvement.

Often, sports stories have heavy political implications and are quite meaningful. The triumphs of athletes like Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali and Tommy Smith and John Carlos, and countless others have contributed greatly to my passion for sports and have affected my political views. These athletes had great impact on the political climate of their times by following their passions and stand up for principals to influence change in the world.

Theater has also meshed with politics in every historical age. Playwrights, actors and directors often take stands when they find the political climate unfair and knowing the progressive nature of the theater, they place their political commitment on stage.  The AIDS crisis ripped through the theater community and together they began to write and perform and take a stand. This past year after a performance of Hamilton where Vice President Mike Pence was attending, the cast addressed a speech to him as to how he could make lives better for all Americans. Then of course there is theater as what it is, Art. When I saw the production of Fun Home on Broadway, I had no idea how emotionally impactful the show would be. That’s what good theater can really do. It can shake a person to the core of their worldview and make a deep emotional impact they will carry for life.

The most important thing I derive from these three passions, is how they inspire me to action. My love for sports drove me to play baseball “for the love of the game” until I ran out of leagues to play in.   I started my own set of games with friends. How I got up on the stage, playing whatever parts I could, just for the thrill of hearing the laughter and thunderous applause of an audience. I had this drive to make people feel that emotional connection from impactful dramatic productions or the emotional relief of laughter when the audience laughs at something you did (I don’t mean by flubbing lines).   How in all these endeavors, I was a part of a team, something bigger than just myself. It was something really worthwhile.

Politics has inspired me to become a political science major at Penn State. I want to really get out and change the world. Now I don’t want to be some cliché ridden mad-men who talks about how “I alone can fix it.” I wouldn’t lie like that. I can’t fix it alone. I want to get involved and have the platform of a stage, or a field and really drive change in this country. The reason people like Jackie Robinson and Tommy Smith and John Carlos have such an impact on me is because they stood up for issues out there in our country that have been around for hundreds of years and we need to deal with them. We can’t sit around idly and let our country fall apart, which is the way things seem to be heading. We need things like sports and theater to give us a break from things that may seem tough, but at the end of the day I need to throw my hat into the political arena and do whatever I can to drive change in my country and in my world. These are the things that at the end of the day, truly matter to me.

When I sit down like Lynsey Addario and try and write about my passions in an eloquent and life changing fashion, I am really driven to be a life changer. I want to be someone who gets a big enough political stage to actually change policy and improve people’s quality of life in this country. Theater and Sports often demonstrate stories of common, yet gifted Americans. They bring to us stories that can teach us why we need to be the change in the world. If it were up to me, I would be the first Tony-Award Winning member of the Baseball Hall of Fame to be elected President of the United States.

Unfortunately, I am confined by my singing and dancing ability and my inability to throw a ball 100 MPH or hit a ball 450 feet. Yet, I have a voice and I have words and a drive to climb and I will use them to the best of my ability to bring meaningful and long-lasting change to those issues that inform my passions. This passion and drive will be examined over the course of my Passion blog.  I will write about these three things and how the lines between them blur and ultimately how they affect me as a human being.

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