Sports

Obstacles as stepping stones

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

CFL legend Frank Cosentino spoke to the members of the Kiwanis Club of Pembroke at the club's luncheon meeting on Wednesday about the importance of sport and its lessons for young people.

CFL legend Frank Cosentino spoke to the members of the Kiwanis Club of Pembroke at the club's luncheon meeting on Wednesday about the importance of sport and its lessons for young people.

If CFL legend Frank Cosentino had his way, all children would have a chance to play sports.

The former Hamilton Tiger-Cat quarterback, who also played for Toronto and Edmonton, and is the winner of two Grey Cups - 1963 and 1965 - spoke to the members of the Kiwanis Club of Pembroke at one of their luncheon meetings, held at the Kiwanis Fieldhouse in Riverside Park.

Cosentino, who lives in Eganville, said it has been a real pity schools overall have been cutting back on the extracurriculars, considering he feels some of the more valuable lessons are learned through sport.

“One of the most important subjects in school should be extracurriculars,” he said.

Players in sport know what the goal is, the circumstances, and the importance of supporting team mates, learning and maintaining discipline, and they all know there will be obstacles thrown in their paths. How they cope with that is a lesson players can apply away from the sports field.

“The Chinese character for “obstacle” means both “stumbling block” and “stepping stone,” Cosentino said, depending on how one learns to approach it.

“Some run into obstacles and they fold, and walk away, while others will fail, but keep on trying to figure out a way to make it happen, to get around or over that obstacle,” he said.

Cosentino said every sport also has limitations built into it, whether it is the boundary lines of the field, or the rules which must be followed, or the number of players allowed on a team.

“It is through those limitations that you learn to be creative, no matter the circumstance,” he said. “We need those limitations and we need to stumble, to learn how to turn obstacles into stepping stones.”

“I'd like to see every child exposed to sports and the lessons it can teach,” Cosentino said.

The former football player and author kept the Kiwanians entertained with stories about the people he knew in the league and some of their antics, from a player who smuggled in a dead duck into the stadium and flung it in the air, timing it so it plunged to the ground shortly after the referee's starter pistol was fired to mark the end of the half, to a classic exchange between Ti-Cat defensive tackle Angelo Mosca and a referee.

Cosentino said Mosca had disagreed with the referee's call against him, a 10 yard penalty, and told the official how he “stunk.” The referee promptly walked back another 15 yards, adding to the penalty, then asked Mosca “How do I smell from here?”

Asked if Cosentino had a single nugget of wisdom to share for young people, he thought a moment, then said “love God, love your neighbour.”

SUhler@postmedia.com