From Athlete to Spectator: Learning to Enjoy the Game

By |2017-01-13T20:41:40+00:00November 18th, 2015|
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sheri2-271x300We have just started attending Georgetown men’s basketball team games as part of our 12th season as season-ticket holders. I must confess that the first season-ticket holder was my now husband Tony, and I wasn’t even a part of his life when he bought the tickets, but let’s roll the camera back to the time when I never imagined a few things: being married, a season-ticket holder to Georgetown basketball, and enjoying being a spectator of sports instead of being the player on the court.

Before I was injured at age 16, my immediate thoughts of the future were how excited I was about starting a new season of field hockey and serving as statistician for the varsity football team. Little did I know that neither would become a reality. I was soon injured, in the ICU at the local hospital, and when I was told that I would be going to a rehabilitation center, I thought it was going to be a workout facility where I would soon leave and start my field hockey season.

Obviously, that was not the case. The “workout facility” was a major rehabilitation center in Westchester, New York. I was two and a half hours from home, not able to see field hockey or football, and just being able to lift my arms to eat was considered a victory. Going from being an athlete to not even being able to move my arms was a major game changer for me. No pun intended.

So what has happened over the last 30 years? How did I deal with not being able to play field hockey, basketball, run track, jog, swim, bike ride and do all the other physical activities I enjoyed so much? At some point I had to accept my situation. Being angry about it and being angry at all the people who could still play sports was not going to get me anywhere. So I slowly became even more of an avid spectator. I had always been someone who enjoyed watching sports, thanks to growing up with my father who sat with me every Sunday watching football and enjoying the baseball and basketball seasons with my parents, siblings and friends. I started attending Georgetown games even more regularly when I moved to the Washington, D.C., area for law school. And then I began regularly watching all types of sports on television, yelling my heart out, inviting friends over to watch and having a good time. Without even realizing it, being a spectator became just as fun and exhilarating for me as playing on the field.

This reinvention has sustained me and added much to my life. In fact, my first date with Tony was a Georgetown basketball game, so I guess you could say that being a spectator was my entrée to finding a husband! More than that, it has shown me that by reinventing my passion into something I can do instead of focusing on what I can’t do is much more productive than being angry and, in the end, can provide unbelievable enjoyment.

So, don’t dwell on what you can’t do and think about what you can do. In the end you will enjoy the game.

Follow the adventures of Sheri Denkensohn-Trott and her husband Tony Trott on