I don’t like when people tell me what to do. I never have, and I don’t think I ever will. And that’s not to say that I’m stubborn – I’m honestly a very cooperative and understanding person if people are open to conversation.
I just don’t take lightly to demands.
Because of this, I used to really hate athletics. I mean hate. I didn’t like having some elementary school gym teacher blow a whistle at me and tell me to run faster, I didn’t like when I was told to stop talking and pay attention to directions (uh… 4th grade relationships ALWAYS take precedence over kickball) and I particularly didn’t like being told that I wasn’t a “sports” person.
After a few years of getting the lowest possible ribbon in the presidential fitness test, my athleticism (or lack thereof) evolved into being the punch line for my best shticks. If I made a joke about being a slow runner or hating waiting in a dugout, I didn’t have to feel embarrassed that I never excelled in something that, actually, seemed pretty fun.
It wasn’t until I found something that worked for me that I started to consider myself an athlete. It was joining a club water polo team. There was something about being in the water that made the whole “exercise” thing seem that much more approachable – which is funny, because if I knew that I would in a few weeks I’d be treading water with a 25 pound medicine ball above my head for 10 minutes as a warm-up I probably would never have ”approached” that pool deck in a million years.
But I joined. And I know that part of it had to do with the fact that I met some of the most down-to-earth, talented, and joyful girls I would meet on that club team. But I think that part of it was just being in an environment where I felt comfortable to screw up and laugh about it – but not laugh it off. I would laugh, but then someone would believe enough in me, be it a teammate or coach, to take the time and help me modify a movement or skill.
This transition into for the first time in my life not only liking, but also, excelling at something so kinesthetic was a realm entirely new to me, and it allowed me to finally consider myself an athlete. The beauty of being an athlete is that if you’re an athlete once, you’re an athlete for the rest of your life. Because you know that you have the ability to do it. You just have to find your own way in. My back door was water polo. Recently, my re-entry into calling myself an athlete has been joining Deuce.
Do what’s right for you, and don’t give a shit how you get there. Just make sure you aren’t stopping yourself from doing something because you’re pretty sure you can’t do it. Chances are, you can.
So just DO it okay???
… please. That was a request, not a demand. : )
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