Love in a World of Sports

Kirk Long on Feb 13, 2015 06:12 PM
Love in a World of Sports
"Although we both love being competitive, we have realized that loving sports goes beyond the game itself." - Kirk Long

For as long as I can remember, sports has been a part of my life. Growing up in Manila, I was exposed to basketball more than anything, but having a large family and attending an international school exposed me to numerous sports. Athletics, for me, has been more than just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.

My wife, Cristina, shares these sentiments. I guess she had little choice, growing up with three older brothers who love sports, and having a dad who played multiple sports and is one of the best golfers in the country.

When Tata and I first met we were both in the middle of our college careers. Education was important to us, but our passion came out the most when we represented our school on the court or on the pitch. I believe that it was this common passion that has helped us relate with one another. We are thankful for how God made us, and we both love the challenge of pushing our bodies to the limit and performing at a high level.

This common interest is not just enjoyed in our main sports (basketball and football). We enjoy flag football, of which we emerged the champions at one time, and bowling -- which was the activity on one of our first dates. I remember being so impressed by her because she managed to score 20 points higher than me. It was events such as those that helped me really understand more of who she was, and made me love her even more.

Although we both love being competitive, we have realized that loving sports goes beyond the game itself. Our passion for sports makes us want to live a healthier lifestyle -- by eating healthy, going on frequent walks outdoors, and taking yoga classes together to improve our flexibility and balance. Sports has even impacted our working life. Just this past week I was asked to cover a UAAP volleyball game, but I already had a scheduled basketball clinic at the same time. Because my wife loves sports like I do, she effortlessly handled the basketball clinic in my absence.

When my wife reminisces about her playing days, I am able to relate and share similar stories - whether it was a heart wrenching loss to an arch-rival or a memorable play that helped seal a win.

Don't get me wrong, we are capable of enjoying each other out of the sports world, and have dates where sports won't even be a part of our conversation, but I sure do appreciate the fact that she is not a girl who is clueless when it comes to sports talk.

I also love how my wife knows how to maximize her days and fit multiple activities into it. Playing varsity sports while studying and getting school work done was not always an easy task. I feel like what we both had to go through in college has helped us be the kind of people who enjoy taking on a full schedule. We both feel like the lessons learned through sports helped prepare us better for the real world. Our life in sports helped us learn how to work with all sorts of people, and that committing extra time was crucial to improve a weakness we had, be it an actual injury or a skill we had to focus more on.

I believe that Tata understands how I feel about sports, because she feels the same way. She understands the dedication and sacrifice that comes with loving a sport. This is why she was never bothered that we never got to celebrate Valentines on the 14th or other important occassions. In sports every game matters so without me even asking my wife for a "rain-check", she supported me whether it was a UAAP game or off-season scrimmage. She never tried to pull me away from what I loved doing because she understood how important my commitment to it was. She only reassured me through her actions that my love for the game was something she admired. I remember her saying she appreciated how much time and energy I poured into basketball to be better, and on top of that she would still try to help motivate me more by making videos for me to watch before every season with my favorite songs as background music.

As being a student-athlete took its course, I married Cristina after five years of being together, which brings our life forward to other blessings, such as our daughter, Kaliya.

Now that our most competitive days are behind us, we are both enjoying coaching younger athletes and hope we can impart what we learned from our own experiences and how sports builds character. All of which will be something i know my wife and I will enjoy doing the rest of our lives.

I am truly blessed that the world of sports help bring my wife and I together, we have been married more than eighteen months, but my time on the court hasn’t slowed down. This is all cause my Valentine continues to encourage me to do what i am passionate about. She even signed me up to be her team mate in this summer's "For-fun" football league in Ateneo. I don’t feel like that happens too often in relationships and so it is just one of the reasons why I feel like I am lucky to have such an unbelievable Valentine this year and for the rest of my life.

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