I’ve been an athlete all my life. I was put in swim classes at age two and started competing at four, the rest is history. I’ve tried softball and swimming, tennis and soccer but it wasn’t until high school that I really found my athletic “niche” with distance running. Running is unique in that it requires no helmets, balls or equipment all you really need is yourself and a good pair of shoes. The simplicity of its design is what gives me the freedom to challenge myself both on and off the track, and discover a state of peace I can’t get anywhere else.
Over the years I’ve learned a lot from running, and athletics in general. But most of all I’ve discovered that being an athlete is a lifestyle choice. Maybe it’s about putting yourself through pain for an uncertain outcome, being a part of a team, or working hard to be better than you were before. Maybe it’s being able to accept that it’s ok to lose. For me, an “athlete” isn’t a specific person or body type, but an individual who is passionate about something and willing to work to achieve their goals.
The true face of an athlete isn’t the player who scored the most points, or has the most first places under their belt, but the person who can dig deep for strength when they’re tired and sacrifice for the things that matter. They are the students in class who ask the most questions, and spend the most time studying after school. They are the artists who take outside courses just to improve their skills in drawing. They are the actors, dancers or orchestra members who stay at school until 6:00 every day practicing their parts. They are the people who stand out from the pack not because of natural talent or ability, but because of their drive to succeed.
Does this sound like you? Are you willing to go to great lengths for something you’re passionate about? If not, what are you waiting for? Instead of passively waiting for life, charge in head first and take that leap of faith. Only you can chase your dreams. Let’s all be athletes, whether you’re a business person, teacher, doctor, or starving artist. The only person standing in your way is you.