Every morning when I rise, I give thanks to God for blessing me with one more day to be in the land of the living.
But after witnessing the historical events of this year's election, with Barack Obama becoming the first black man elected as president, I have an added praise for being alive during the one of the most monumental periods in American history.
For years I've been forced to read books, look at photos and watch images of epic historical events such as the Gettysburg Address, Babe Ruth's called shot at Wrigley Field or Malcolm X speaking at a rally in Harlem, N.Y.
Not this time.
Now, I am a living witness to one of the greatest chapters in history that will forever be engraved in the hearts and souls of mankind.
Finally, we see the fulfillment of Thomas Jefferson's words in the Declaration of Independence - "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Recently, I wrote an article on the political pulse of student-athletes in the Southern Crescent.
After vibing with players from both counties, I was humbled and amazed by the responses to my questions as first-time voters and those who fall under the age bracket expressed their views of the landmark election.
I was so happy to hear them speak so eloquently and passionately about the election and the issues that affect all Americans.
They're well aware that the country is in bad shape from our downward economy to the misguided war in Iraq. They knew their future was based on the outcome at the polls and they were determined to let their voices be heard.
I tried to cover all bases and looked for supporters of both candidates, but I only found one individual pulling for Sen. John McCain. Those who were of age, voted for Obama knowing the box they tapped on the voting booth's colored screen played a key role in changing his mailing address to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Regardless of race, sex, creed or economic status, it's hard not to be inspired and impressed by president-elect Barack Obama.
He is a man, who wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth, or from a traditional family setting, yet he's living proof of the American dream and these athletes recognize what's real when they see it.
While race shouldn't be an issue, it's hard to ignore the large gorilla in the room with a black man holding the highest title on the planet - a title that has been filled by white men since George Washington was sworn into office in 1789.
Although his election is a bridge of hope for a better life for ALL Americans, it especially gives encouragement to the region's black student-athletes that no dream is impossible.
So what if you can't shave a second off your time in the 40-yard dash time, or if you can't go strong to your left while driving to the hoop, you now have physical evidence of someone who looks just like you achieve excellence at the ultimate level.
Kobe's game is nasty. L.T.'s burst of speed is amazing. Johan Santana's changeup is wicked.
Nevertheless, they don't hold a candle to wearing the label Mr. President.
Dare to dream all my Southern Crescent superstars. Walk boldly professing 'The Audacity of Hope.'
"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible. Who still wonders if the dream if our founders is alive in our time. Who still questions the power of our democracy. Tonight (Election Day) is your answer," said President-elect Barack Obama during his victory speech, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.
(Rory Sharrock is a sportswriter for the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)