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An Athlete ‒ Empassioned ‒ How Loving Your Sport Of Choice Causes Passion Beyond Words

Written by: Serena A. Carbonell, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Loving your sport(s) of choice. Many souls are athletes devoted to a physical activity of exercise, hence a sport, that may be performed competitively, as an occupation, for instructional purposes, for health & fitness benefits, for fun, or merely socially. Or for all of the above!

young woman doing one hand push ups after playing basketball on the courts

The activity of sport dates back to 70000 BCE. Now that seems forever ago! A period when, during the Ancient World, training for combat and hunting was essential, as well as having a competitive pastime for communal rapport (yes! worldly cultural practices that still exist to this day). Thus, over time, the advancement of sport continues to influence humanity by creating and delivering a movement that requires skill, prowess, and sheer athleticism — individually or as a team player. Some sports, as we know, require both forms of commitment making for a wonderful sense of challenge and camaraderie. In addition, sports are also performed to celebrate and honor other souls, causes, and aid in humanitarian efforts.

One awesome gift in life is that we have the opportunity to choose what sport(s) we want to learn, dabble in, try out, participate in, play, and then ultimately (for many) excel in, and then of course eventually LOVE. How cool is that? If you are an athlete, well then, you already know this.

My sport of choice that I love is SQUASH! When I was nine my parents introduced me to this unique, refined, “chichi"-ish racquet sport which is considered to be, according to Forbes Magazine, "rated top of the leader board for healthiest sports in the WORLD.” Amazing, right? I did not immediately fall in love with squash. This appreciation took time, patience, and discipline — a lot of discipline.

Though I was blessed with having several talented coaches (who were very patient as well, mind you), squash had a minimal presence of juniors where I trained. As a naturally social creature, I felt lost without intimate connections and others to play with to help me improve on a holistic and competitive level. Thankfully, my parents had a light-bulb moment and encouraged me to participate in junior tournaments (alongside my older sister and brother who were already competing) which was eye-opening, definitely intimidating, and also extremely welcoming in my making new soul friends. This was when the shift began to happen. I remember thinking to myself — “Wait, what? Here is a sport that I am quite talented in playing, often requires traveling (which I adore) where I may also be a social butterfly! This could be love after all.”

An athlete, empassioned, I then became!

Causing Passion

Every athlete knows how valuable and important being dedicated, focused, and driven is when committing to their sport of choice. Learning is, of course, the first step — though, yes, there are many souls who are naturally gifted from a very young age (clearly genetic, and perhaps a pre-determined spirited disposition?). Oh, those gifted athletes! We’re blessed to have them in our athletic company, that I will say. It is, however, during this introductory phase where you may also begin to question whether the sport you are learning is the right fit for you and if so, you ultimately continue to enhance your practice. (Like I with squash).

As a 5th-grade junior squasher, Sophie Vadasdi, from Greenwich, Connecticut believes, “a dedicated athlete in my opinion is more than just an athlete, it’s a committed individual who I think also has to enjoy the sport. If you play a sport, but don’t have enthusiasm for it you aren’t truly dedicated because you will never be able to put your heart into the game.”

With that being said, after you have now made a mind, body & soul connection with your sport and the love is there, now what? Well, we certainly hope boredom does not kick in or that there is an urge to “quit” (as pressure can also be very daunting). This type of reaction does happen though I see it as a message from the universe — guiding you to unwind, experience a change and perhaps find another activity that triggers you to be fully “empassioned.”

Empassioned — I’ll break the word down for you. The prefix “em” means to elicit a “cause to” action — to basically stimulate. While passion refers to “a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.” (Merriam-Webster)

In essence, our emotions (and spirit) guide us in appreciating our talent(s) which creates excitement and intrigue to continue with our sport of choice. When we have “passion”, we establish a sense of togetherness. In this aspect, togetherness entails being the all-encompassing and confident athlete you want to be while embracing your fears and encouraging change.

A story like no other. The inspiring Willem Hooft will tell you, “The main reason I love surfing is because it gets me as close to the feeling of freedom that I can get. Being out there on the water makes me really forget about everything in life that sometimes is on my mind.” (World Sailing)

Willem, five years ago, suffered paralysis in his legs from a motorbike accident. Until this point, he had been an avid windsurfer who then found himself lost on his sacred journey realizing that he may not be able to get back on the beautiful and stellar waves of the sea. As an athlete, Willem was up for the challenge and fight to continue to surf, and thus discovered sit-kitesurfing that changed his life forever — professionally and holistically. With his empowering mantra, “I can no longer walk, but I will learn how to fly,” Willem has been able to stay devoted and focused— conquering his beloved sea one wave at a time. Talk about being empassioned!

So how has loving squash made me an empassioned athlete? Well, over the course of my squash career I have been able to experience the sport on many levels: as a competitor, a coach, serving as an executive director for an academic & athletic after-school youth development program — to name a few. Most importantly, I have been able to continue celebrating a sport I learned as a youth and share my knowledge and expertise with other souls eager to tackle a wickedly fun, fast-paced, and magical dance-like game that sure does keep you fit. As previously mentioned, “nomadic” is practically my middle name, and squash has opened up that avenue as well as in my meeting kind souls and establishing eternal friendships on a global scale.

Oh, and if you were wondering. Yes — I did also “hang up” my racquet for over a decade and explored other opportunities in the culinary and healing arts. Now I am blessed to connect much of those experiences and training, especially massage therapy and spiritual life coaching, to my past and present-day participation in the squash world as a part-time professional coach.

Squash is considered a lifelong sport which is quite remarkable. I mean, how many 75 to 80-year-olds do you know battling it out on the soccer pitch, the baseball field, or the volleyball court? In squash, I know plenty — which is most impressive! (Perhaps you are now thinking to yourself that you might want to consider taking up squash. I highly recommend it).

With my “enthusiasm” for squash, which always brings me joy and bliss, hearing stories such as Willem’s, and being an avid sports fan, I am often left speechless.

Beyond Words

And the crowd goes “ROAR!”

Many of us are spectators — watching our favorite talented and gifted athletes on their own hero’s journey, showering us with their presence. Showcasing their love and passion for their sport of choice. The vibe, the energy, the mood — you can feel it, right? The euphoria in the air. The healthy and highly contagious spiritual force encompassing all. Powerful. Riveting. Trance-like even.


Whether you are cheering your own athletic self on, are a coach or being coached, are a teammate, a family member, a soul friend, a soul loved one, a loyal and devoted fan, the world even — the intensity is INSANE. An enthusiastic supporter on perhaps your own sacred journey — your nerves kick in, your personal “love” for whom you are rooting for enhances, you feel breathless!

I can recall my first BEYOND WORDS experience. Swim team. Competing at my local club as a diver and a swimmer during my childhood summer days. I absolutely loved swimming and backstroke was my specialty. Jumping into the pool to prep for the race. Waiting for the "On your mark, get set” ... followed by the sound of the starter pistol. There I was pushing off the wall with my adrenaline vigorously pumping and water splashing in every direction, and I could somehow still hear my teammates, parents, and myriad of spectators cheering me on. What I actually appreciated the most — the role reversal. I was the one on land, at the end of the lane, or running up and down the side of the pool screaming at the top of my lungs in rooting for my teammate(s) — watching them bask and succeed in their empassioned athletic state. Now that was cool!

And then there is Gaia, the 12-year-old basketball fan who found herself in the beautiful throws of divine timing with the esteemed LeBron James, aka “King James.” After Gaia discovered that LeBron was sitting next to her at the LA Lakers versus Golden State Warriors game last month her reaction was captivating (and also went viral). “‘Oh my God, the greatest player of all time in basketball is sitting next to me!' I just freak out completely, I'm just thinking, 'Oh my goodness this is like the best moment of my life.’" (ESPN)

The beauty and heartfelt awesomeness of it all, in LeBron’s eyes — “This is exactly why I love what I do!”

Need I say more!

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Serena A. Carbonell, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Serena is the founder of Spiritual Living with Serena (SLS) ‒ a holistic intuitive healing coaching & spiritual advisor service providing a simple approach for high performers in achieving happiness. Her name is pronounced akin to "Serenity" with a short second e. Serena utilizes her expansive certified therapeutic background to serve those who strive for excellence and have the challenge of living a more stress-free, rewarding, meaningful and holistic soulful life. She typically works with high-level executives, professional athletic coaches and successful competitive athletes. Always celebrating with a positive, loving zest for life, Serena is eternally in touch with her healing spirit: body, mind & soul.



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