Wednesday, March 9, 2011

hope for you non-athletes

let me be clear: I am not a competitive athlete.
I scrunch my forehead and wiggle my nose a bit when I even say I am an athlete.
I'm really not, I'm just a female who likes to ride her bike, and who's willing to put some effort into training so that she can ride a bit better, a bit faster, a bit longer.
but an athlete?
no, those are those other people.
my daughters, for example. they are on teams, they meet, they practice, they drill, they compete against other teams. one plays lacrosse right now, the other plays volleyball. in other seasons they play basketball, and, well, lacrosse and volleyball.
they will grow up considering themselves athletes.
I didn't.
I played tennis my last two years in high school, and I didn't play it particularly well. we did no running drills in practice, we never hit the weight room. (oh, that's right, that's because we didn't have a weight room.) the closest I got to "sports" in college were water aerobics classes, a weight lifting class (because my university did have a weight room), and tai chi.

I'm glad that my girls think of themselves as athletes: it's a healthy mindset, a label that promotes positive thinking, teamwork, and taking care of your body. it supports a belief that you belong in the world, that your body's geometry is purposeful and capable of providing great rewards. it helps them carry water bottles around, and eat bananas.

I hover on the lip of that label, thinking no, I'm not really that cool, and yes, I am absolutely that cool. I'm a few decades past being a "miner," but know that my beliefs about Who I Am are rooted way back there in park city high school. it was cool to be an athlete then, as it remains cool to be one today.
it would probably be silly to crown myself homecoming queen, and my sense of Who I Am already includes just about every art and honor roll and other activity imaginable, so that leaves me with just one naked gap to fill: athlete.
I can't relive those years, but I can learn to rethink the current me.
I can put my tiara on and wear my bike shorts and be the me I never was back then . . . will this help me reframe myself?
or shall I simply start chanting each day I go for a ride, I am an athlete, I am an athlete, I am I am.
and unfurrow my brow. and set my nose straight.
and accept my destiny.
because truly, and with gratitude and thanks to all who've helped get me here, I suppose I am an athlete.

you, my friend, have no excuse.

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