Student Profile: Meet Marc
|Sports: The Name of the Game|||||Unexpected News|||||Learning to Deal with Loss|
Sports are what I do:
> If someone were to ask me, "What do you do in your spare time?" Undoubtedly, the answer always relates back to a sport that I have played. Growing up in a small Canadian town like Fonthill, Ontario, it was natural for most kids to pursue hockey as their lifelong ambition. This was not the case with me, however. I grew up playing on competitive basketball and soccer teams until my university days.
> Whether playing soccer, tennis, or swimming lengths in the local pool, it always seemed that my competitive nature would bring out the worst in me. I look back now and see myself as a hypocritical jerk that always put himself first; my priorities were not where they should have been.
> You could say that I had a relatively normal upbringing. I had two loving parents, a twin sister and an older brother. But my life was about to be changed in two enormous ways.
> Around the age of five, my family had some heartbreaking news. My father was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), which is a degenerative muscle disease that leaves the patient unable to use his muscles and in effect become useless. Most patients are given two years to live during which the family undergoes a drastic change in lifestyle and dynamics.
> The disease’s progression in my dad was much slower-moving than in most patients. After five years, he was unable to walk upstairs by himself. Eight years into it, he had difficulties feeding himself and would often get tired just talking.
> Throughout this time I had rarely attended a church service and I was mostly opposed to going to any churchy things. One of my good friends in Grade 8 eventually talked me into attending a church service. I thought it was boring and something that old people do just to say that they’ve socialized on a Sunday. At the same time, the youth leaders of the church invited me out to a Thursday night get-together which my friend attended regularly.
A Picture of Numbness…
> As with any 14-year-old entering high school, I was nervous about Grade 9 and all of the horror stories that I heard about what older kids do to you. I managed to steer clear of this by befriending a lot of people that were older than me who played on the same athletic teams. Sometimes I felt lonely, but by keeping people around me who enjoyed the same types of things, I was able to connect with kids going through the similar challenges.
> The loneliness I felt wasn’t very deep but the pain I felt in my life reached its deepest point when my father died from ALS the day before I was to enter Grade 11. It’s very difficult to describe the feeling of losing your father, although a picture of numbness comes to my mind. I was very secluded for a couple of weeks after, but the youth group leaders provided great encouragement for me. In any situation that we face, including ones which are difficult to understand, I believe it is an opportunity to get a clearer picture of who God is.
> For the rest of high school I continued to be outgoing and my main focus was getting into a school that would provide the best opportunities for me.
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