Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Athlete Redefined

Inspired by this and this, as well as Olympic fever; I have been pondering my recent quest to become fit again. I try not to think too hard about it, because really the bottom line is that it's good for me.

As a high school athlete plagued with tendonitis I had this feeling of being washed up. I'm only 21! Yet, getting back into fitness and sports I often ask myself, where are you going with this? I didn't play any sports in college and I often feel like I missed some grand opportunity. If I'm being honest with myself, I know I wasn't that good, and my parents weren't the type to push me, nor were they in a financial position to stick me on a club team or the like, which in the tennis world is basically traveling a lot to USTA tournaments.

The recent media flurry over Dara Torres got me thinking.
torres
Photo by Marc Serota for The New York Times

For her, at 41, being an athlete means making her 5th trip to the Olympics. She still has plenty of good races in her.

One of my other favorite athletes is tennis star Martina Navratilova
martina
www.martinanavratilova.com

Martina finished her professional career with a final Grand Slam title at the 2006 US Open winning the Mixed Doubles with Bob Bryan. She didn't retire until she was just shy of her 60th birthday! Now, she is a commentator for the Tennis channel.

Sure, I missed the boat on the NCAA, WNBA, WTA, but is that what being an athlete means to me? I guess at one point it was. I can't see myself ever competing in any kind of running event, which seems to be pretty accessible. However, I do see myself continuing to play all kinds of sports, getting better, faster, stronger than I was 5 years ago. Maybe I'll start competing again, join a community or masters team, but hey, maybe I won't. Being an athlete doesn't mean it has to be a career. Accepting that has allowed me to enjoy my fitness pursuits so much more.

For once, there isn't an end game. There is no medal or trophy to push me further. All I have is my own desire to be the best.

With that-I leave you with my interpretation of something Lisa said on her quest to become The Next Food Network Star.

"I strive to be a less dominating perfectionist"

5 comments:

Mark Salinas said...

Awesome post! Rock on!

John said...

"Sure, I missed the boat on the NCAA, WNBA, WTA, but is that what being an athlete means to me? I guess at one point it was."

I know what you mean. A decade ago I was a fireman with 6 pack abs and 6.5% body fat. I could do over 150 push-ups without stopping and run 3 miles in less than 21 minutes.

Now I have no six pack, almost 20% body fat, can do about 45 push-ups, and I can barely run a 13 minute mile.

"For once, there isn't an end game. There is no medal or trophy to push me further. All I have is my own desire to be the best."

There is something much more valuable than that at stake. Increased health and energy, better health and fewer illnesses, less risk for all kinds of long term illnesses, etc.

Best of wishes in your fitness journey.

MizFit said...

I love both those women as well (ok Martina a bit more but who's counting?)

I keep saying it but SO MEAN IT that I pray Dara is clean.

M.

plasticcalifornia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
plasticcalifornia said...

Edited for typos!

I don't think you have to worry about her...she's requested extra testing from the board and has said multiple times that she's always raced clean against a bunch of dirty swimmers!