Something strange that binds all seven BILLION of us together on this planet is that we cannot avoid adversity and struggle. It simply is a fact of life that comes slamming into every single human being and frankly most species on earth. I, myself, have had my fair share of this, leading to cutting corners in other parts of my life to care for the one that is struggling.
By saying you are an athlete, you are collectively adding yourself to an elite group of physically superior individuals. When you are a college athlete, that group is put upon you. I was a walk-on, so in every way, I chose this.
I am a rower; through and through. I love the sport. the elegance and grace of 8 bodies moving as one. The tenacity of pulling for dear life. The inability to quit once you have started.
With rowing, numbers are the biggest factor in determining wins and losses. Erg scores, 2k times, and 0.01-second victories are all examples of the race to beat the time. There is so much pressure in being the strongest, most enduring athlete because it feels good to have a personal best, but it feels even better when you think about pulling strong for everyone else as well.
With hard times, there come hard decisions. This year I paused on my rowing career to focus on school and other things that needed work. Knowing that rowing would always be there for me, I worked hard and dealt with life. Returning to the team at the late of the season was tough, but gave me hope, nonetheless.
The only catch... I'm way out of shape.
I have lost 2 years of hard work, and now I am going to make up for it in the 2 months I have before we begin our fall season.
To the athlete trying to get fit again, know that your efforts are not unnoticed by your coaches, and your successes come in how far you have come personally.
Here's to the summers of salads and sweaty sports bras, watching others divulge in ice cream.
Here's to all the workouts that you once missed, making them up to redeem yourself.
Here's to the willingness to fight back against your body that has gone weak. For you are not weak, and you prove that every single day you put in work.
Here's to the workouts in an empty gym where no one is watching.
Here's to the fine tuning on technique and precision in your efforts.
Here's to the champion within and the champion you are working for on the water, court, or field.
Do it for the reasons you claim to be an athlete and prove who you really are to everyone who doubts you, including yourself.