When we understand the privilege of what it means to be an athlete, we are in touch with, and rejoice in, our physical, mental, and emotional strengths and our endless possibilities. — Gloria Averbuch
athlete [ME, fr L athleta, fr Gk athletes, fr athlein to contend for a prize, fr athlon prize, contests] one who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports or games requiring physical strength, agility or stamina” —Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 1977
I’ve been mulling the connection between all these quotations for over a week. The first quote first struck me as so uplifting and inspring that I sat a little straighter and smiled because I truly felt all things are in fact possible. It took less than minute for me to dismiss it as applicable to me. My head quickly corrected me with, “Wait! I’m not an athlete.” It was only when that thought became conscious
I wasn’t an athlete in school. The opportunities were limited at that time at GPS. I loved tennis, but never had the courage to go out for the team. I liked soccer, but we didn’t have a team. Besides. some coach told me I was “too aggressive” – a remark that today would hopefully never be said to a competitive female athlete. I had a mean volleyball serve, but really don’t like the game itself. So I limited myself to running with the dogs on the back hill. I was a nerd, not a jock. So I couldn’t possibly blog about the Averbuch quote, even though my gut reaction to it was so positive. I wasn’t part of that world. And so this post has been lingering in the “draft” pile for over a week.
Then one day in the shower – where I do my best thinking, it seems – I realized that just for today I am an athlete. I went to the dictionary just to check, and yep, there it is. I meet that definition. So there, I told my head. And then came the big question. How many times do I deny myself for who and what I am because of the label I put on myself some time in the past? If I can become an athlete, what else can I become?
Those questions were and are far too big for me to answer this morning, but I think they are interesting to ask myself. Every time I go into a situation where I hear myself say “I can’t” or “I’m not,” I need to remember to ask the question, “Why not?” I’ve learned through running that all those labels and assumptions are potentially wrong. I am who I am today, not who I was yesterday. I can be in touch with, and rejoice in, the endless possibilities of life!