It is hard for some individuals to believe, but I am not all that athletic. I look like at athlete, I can lift weights and train like an athlete, but I rarely perform like an athlete. This past weekend, I went cross country skiing for the first time since – well, since who knows when. I am terrible! My coordination is limited, my movements are impaired. I move slowly. Nothing about the activity feels comfortable. I am not drawn to sports that require true athleticism.
Looks can be deceiving
During my career in corporate America, my employer sponsored numerous team building activities – kickball tournaments, blind volleyball, etc. Coworkers were often quick to ask me to join a team – I would shake my head, “no, no, I am noooo good!” Believing this to be impossible, they would encourage me to join. I would agree, clarifying that I hoped they did not expect to win. More often than not, these individuals believed that I was being sarcastic or humble. But they always learned the hard way – watching me underperform and fail to meet their expectations. Later they would say things like, “but you are so athletic, how can you be so bad?”
While I am a natural athlete – in a sense – I have to have experience and exposure and I need to practice. I have had minimal direct exposure to most sports and activities. I was always picked last in gym class and rarely given an opportunity to play – was the fat girl! I became really good at watching! I watched my brothers play many sports – but I did not play myself.
Several years back I joined an indoor volleyball league. The first few weeks were hilarious – I often ducked from the ball (I blame my brothers who often threw balls at me when I was a child and this instilled a fear of balls). But it was not long before I was quite good at volleyball and moving around the sand court like a champ.
What is an athlete?
What makes someone an athlete? Natural ability? Excellence? Discipline? Genetics? Someone who partakes in sports? According to the dictionary, an athlete is:
a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina
With this definition in mind, am I or am I not an athlete? I am trained and skilled in exercises requiring physical strength, agility, and stamina. I believe that makes me an athlete!
I have been telling myself for years that I am not an athlete. LIES! I am a life athlete – training for life. I’m just generally terrible and inexperienced at sports.
Are you an athlete?