Wednesday, January 18, 2023

No Athletic Gifts? Who Cares!

I think I've got to be the ultimate accidental athlete. I'm the world's biggest klutz when it comes to sports. However, at some point on my way to old age and senility, I fell in love with the outdoors -- and all the things you can do outdoors, be it hiking or running or cycling. I think a lot of us adults have difficulty giving ourselves permission to enjoy a sport that we know we're not very good at. When I went off to college, I wanted to continue to play basketball, but when after a few weeks I noticed that other players were much better at it than I was, I gave up. When I tried running a few years ago, I knew I had to take a different approach. I already knew I wasn't going to be very good at it, so I just tried to enjoy myself. And what fun I've had! 

Take today for example. This morning I went to the gym and lifted, as I always do on Wednesdays. Tuesdays and Thursdays are for cardio. But just look at today's gorgeous weather. 

And so it is that a funny thing happened on my way home to take a nap. I put on my new running shoes and went for a 5 mile run at the Tobacco Heritage Trail. Did I mention that I'm a slow runner, as in glacially slow? Who cares? I don't. I'm having more fun that I've ever had. 

Here's the irony of it all: Although I have next to no athletic gifts, I still enjoy being an athlete. I LOVE trying to learn what the human body was designed to do. I've learned to relish the simple movement of my limbs and joints. You see, going fast or going far isn't what makes you an athlete. It's getting up every morning and taking on whatever challenges the world throws at you that day. Being an athlete has already taught you that it's always the challenges that make you stronger. 

As I face the challenges of growing older (don't worry -- you'll be there too one day), I want to face them the same way I face the challenges of running. Both running and life have a way of making you stronger than you ever imagined you could be. And all it takes to begin is a simple step.