Growing up I was never very athletic. I played Little League softball, and although I wasn’t picked last in gym class, I certainly wasn’t picked first. My brother, on the other hand, was (and is) a fantastic natural athlete. If you handed him a piece of sporting equipment, he always seemed to intuitively know what to do with it. So when my husband and I were talking about taking golf lessons, I was surprised when he said, “Well, you’re an athlete, it should be easy for you.” I had never thought of myself as an athlete before, and as far as I know this is the first time anyone had ever referred to me as one.
A couple of days later I was talking to my mom and mentioned the conversation to her. Her response was interesting. She said, “No, you are not a natural athlete like your brother, but you are an athlete who works hard to succeed. And that’s why you do.” This was the second person who referred to me as an athlete (to be fair, I brought it up so maybe this one doesn’t count). Some things do not come naturally, but I am very good at taking instruction on form and movement, and I don’t quit, so maybe that’s my natural ability and the rest comes with the work I put in.
I’ve been writing a lot about trying new things (TRX, Yoga, etc.) and testing my limits and from now on I’m going to change my approach when I try something new. I always think I’m challenging myself to do something I can’t do. From now on I’m going to challenge myself to do things that I know I can do. Maybe if I go in with the mindset that I AM an athlete, mentally, new things will be easier to try. What’s the worst that can happen? My only failure would be if I didn’t try something just because I’m nervous.
Once when I was in college I was at a barbecue and I started having a catch with one of the guys there. He told me he was impressed because I throw and catch like a guy. (Let’s save the discussion on how that’s insulting since I know many women that can throw/catch equal to or better than most me for another time.) When I first started playing softball as a kid, I was terrible. I spent hours in the backyard with my parents practicing throwing and catching (and hitting) when I was growing up, and that’s why I’m still good at it now. I worked at it and acquired a skill. I guess I didn’t think about it back then because to me it was just fun to have a catch with my mom or dad every day, but that time they put in with me back then taught me that working at something would make me successful.
So, I will be taking golf lessons. And I will start playing tennis. And who knows, maybe I’ll find some other new sport I can start playing, because I am an athlete.