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How Athletes Overcome Adversity: Mental Strength, Mindfulness & Respect through Scuba and Jubilee

For those unfamiliar with me, I am a professional volleyball coach and an avid scuba diver. As a PADI Divemaster, I have undergone extensive training so everyone can safely enjoy these wonders—whether through leisurely dives or more challenging expeditions. Scuba diving offers unparalleled rewards, allowing me to explore the depths and uncover thrilling adventures while admiring the natural beauty beneath the waves. But such activities come with inherent risks too, which necessitates experienced divers to be adequately trained and well-prepared for any eventualities they may encounter while underwater.

Coaching college volleyball and teaching scuba as a divemaster is not only exciting and adventurous but also involves working with teams. To ensure success, strong communication skills are essential to provide instructions, motivation, and helpful feedback to participants. Moreover, many planning stages and safety considerations are critical before starting either sport or physical activity.

Skilled scuba divers often describe diving as an almost spiritual experience because it allows them to explore a world vastly different from the one they are used to on land. Being underwater and in a unique environment can evoke awe, peace, and connection with nature. Additionally, for some divers, there is a sense of wonderment at discovering something new or beautiful beneath the surface that can be profound.

College athletes can learn a great deal about adversity and stress management by trying scuba diving. Scuba diving is an activity that requires focus, mindfulness, and strong problem-solving skills. It also requires physical strength and endurance, valuable traits for college athletes to develop to perform on the court. Additionally, scuba diving helps people become more connected with their environment on a spiritual level—it instills respect for life beneath the sea's surface, which can translate into understanding our connection with nature and developing resiliency when facing complex challenges, on land or underwater.

The Bible speaks of the importance of being connected to nature and appreciating our place in God's Creation. Genesis 2:15, "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." This passage highlights the importance of appreciating our environment, using its resources responsibly, protecting it from harm, and ultimately being stewards of all Creation. Psalm 19:1-4 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God; The skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day, they pour forth speech; Night after night, they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard," which emphasizes how we should marvel at what He has made around us with humility.

Another example of human connection to nature is the parallel between the biblical year of jubilee and scuba dive sites that restrict access to allow coral formations to rest. In both cases, there is a certain periodicity in which the land or natural habitat must be left alone to restore itself. The Bible describes the Sabbath Year in Exodus 23:10-11. It states, "For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year, the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards." It allowed the land to rest from cultivation after six years of work, which permitted soil fertility to be replenished and helped ensure sustainability. This also gave families time away from their labors to worship, contemplate, and celebrate.

We see this relevance repeating itself with periodically restricting dive sites. This helps reduce human environmental impact while allowing nature's processes to heal any damage done over time. Additionally, by limiting access during these "rest periods," greater appreciation and understanding can be gained when one gets back into that space – providing an even more enriching experience for everyone involved.

In sum, scuba diving can positively impact college athletes physically, spiritually, and mentally. Getting outside of their “natural environment” fosters teamwork, resilience, and a deeper appreciation for the natural world. The concept of periodicity, such as the biblical year of jubilee, also highlights the need to protect natural habitats, including dive sites, for their long-term sustainability and the enjoyment of future generations of divers and athletes alike.

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