Are you team “active” or team “relax” while on vacation? And are you intent on resting your mind or your body too? When summer comes around, we are already fatigued, exhausted and worn out from work and heat. Yet, the secret to recharging our energy is often not inactivity. It’s workout. I am telling you this as a specialist, but also – and possibly even more – as a sportsman. You may actually not know it, but I still feel and am a professional athlete who has lent himself to ophthalmology rather than an ophthalmologist who practices sports.
I have been a sportsman, first and foremost a pro basketball player, all my life. This has shaped my character, my mind and therefore my behavior. I have learned to always be attentive to people and situations, to never judge others, and to respect everybody for who they are. I have always seen all my patients as “sportsmen” and I always will, regardless of whether I am helping professional athletes enhance their performance or anyone else improve their freedom of movement through the best vision possible.
As a matter of fact, when it comes to resting your mind (and eyes), nothing is better than move your body. This is what living as an athlete truly means to me. Besides, sports gave me a plethora of positive experiences that have made me the person I am today. Let me tell you how.
Live as an athlete
1. As a child, I got used to training exercises, road-game bus trips, run-down hotels, dawn wake-up calls, aches and injuries, but I never worried as my only focus was to improve myself and to win.
2. I never commented or judged my teammates based on who their parents were, whether they were richer or poorer, more ignorant or more educated than me. Only our friendship and our bonding mattered.
3. I got used to self-sacrificing, to training, to working hard, to swallowing coaches’ harsh words and few compliments. This was the right path to improvement and ultimate success for my personality. I have never liked adoring coaches always ready to heap praise on you. Your reward is in the results.
4. I absorbed the culture of failure and losing in order to understand how to get back up and try harder, and the culture of pain (due to accidents and injuries) – all of which is key to forging characters and preparing for life.
5. Lastly, I cultivated the ability to acknowledge my opponents’ skills and I have never sought preferential treatment or pulled strings, i.e. the basic principles of sportsmanship.
These experiences, which I later lived in my daily professional life, pushed me to do better and better, without ever giving up. Sports have taught me how to live life and to be fair, always. That is why I have built wonderful relationships with my athletes-patients that last even after surgery.
I realized that they needed me and they trusted me. Putting their eyes, and thus their career, in my hands proved they had unlimited faith in me. I was their strongest coach or teammate, the one everyone clings to in times of trouble.
Do you want to enjoy the summer rest and the rest of your life? Make time every day to exercise and if you have vision problems, deal with them as soon as you get back. We are all athletes; it’s just a matter of training (and looking far ahead).