The late great runner/philosopher Dr. George Sheehan once said that though his reasons for running were plentiful, he ran mostly because he was “an animal and a child, an artist and a saint.” He advised others that they were too.

“Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion,” he said, “and you will become the person you are meant to be.”

I thought about the writings of Dr. Sheehan while reporting and editing stories for the September issue of Advocate. The incredible athletes interviewed for Extreme Sports: over-the-top athletes — which included an ultra-runner, a tough-as-nails boxer, a veteran baseball player and a cyclist— each had an undeniable spark and enviable lust for life.

The subjects of  our September feature story — Fantasy Sport, about the mystically playful world of Amtgard — possess the same twinkle in their eyes (just watch the video, you’ll see!). Those who play with all their heart, not for money or fame, but for the love of the game, seem uniquely capable of childlike joyfulness. The Amtgard sport is unconventional, yes, but I’m sure Dr. Sheehan would agree that it doesn’t matter whether your passion is running, roller derby (did I mention we have a story about that, too?), fencing or dressing in kooky costumes and fighting with padded weapons, as long as you find your play … you will become the person you are meant to be.

Look for the September issue on your door this week or early next week.

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