I'm not Serena Williams, and currently, I don't hold any endorsements for Nike. I don't have 22 Grand Slam titles nor have I been able to master a proper growl after winning points. But after 40-some years, I still love the sound a can of tennis balls makes when opened and the fresh, pressurized scent of rubber-fuzz-joy that comes out of it. Ahh, it's the love of the game! Passion comes in different shapes and sizes, but it still means the same thing.
Zest! Vim! Zeal! You feel it strongly. You feel it in your bones, all the way to your toes. Without warning, it can make you dance or cry and yes, sometimes growl.
When that famed champ pumps her fist and bellows with guttural gusto, it's never directed at an opponent. It's not about anything outer; it's all inside. It's a fierceness for the moment, an inner emotion bubbling up and over and out. It's being so filled with something, there's no place for it to go. It's a feeling so strong that it makes a sound.
Most people associate passion with love, lovers, ooh-la-la. You know what I mean… sloppy kisses and doorknobs with Do Not Disturb signs. Or as Dean Martin used to say, "When the moon hits your eye with a big pizza pie.." (Note to the younger folk: That's amore.)
Chances are good, if you've got a heart beat, you're passionate about something. People are wild about science, hot for Harry Potter, and there used to be a bird that was cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. Now, I like a passionate debater, but please, have a decent cause. Some just argue for the sake of being heard, and that's not really passion, it's politics.
There're a lot of folks on fire for the Lord. Many years ago, an elderly man named Howard sat in our front pew every Sunday. Most times you wouldn't hear a peep out of him; his wife did all the talking. But when that music played, Howard would tip his head back slightly and let out a boom of baritone thunder that traveled straight up to heaven. Each hymn was a pinch off key, but we all figured he was just making sure Jesus could pick him out of the crowd.
Not that you could ever hide. A heart's true desire will wiggle its way right to the surface. It's one of the most genuine things about us.
There's nothing more beautiful than watching someone eat with unbridled, uninhibited passion. The old mafia movies always had that pack of ruthless killers sitting around a table, napkins tucked into suits, slopping up shovelfuls of pasta. Nobody got whacked until the meal was savored.
Ever so gently, they'd touch fingers to lips and throw a kiss in the air. Filled with some kind of tomato-based ecstasy, their eyes would roll back in their head as they exclaimed, "Mama mia!" ..which I think is Italian for "Yahoo!"
You can reach Franklin Favorite columnist Rachelle Krampe at firstname.lastname@example.org.