The past 2 weeks, I’ve been watching the Olympics (how can you miss them? That’s all that’s on!).
Every 2 years when the Olympics come on, I watch and always am in awe of the athletes who dedicated their whole lives to work up to a few seconds of perfect performance that results in winning an Olympic medal.
Think about it: how many things did you try growing up that you quit? Many of us were given opportunities to excel just as these Olympians have, but we give up. I know personally I gave up a lot. Or if I didn’t give up, I just didn’t try very hard. I never had that razor-sharp focus that is required to really become excellent in a sport or a hobby. I quit piano, choir, tennis and swimming.
- Piano: I couldn’t understand reading the notes. I couldn’t play fun tunes because I couldn’t learn the simple ones. My dad played by ear and it frustrated me I couldn’t just “get it.”
- Choir: I love singing, but choir was boring. I sang in elementary and middle school, then I think freshman year of high school was in the community youth choir, but that was it. Too bad I didn’t do choir in high school- I could have sang on stage with the Backstreet Boys- LOL.
- Tennis: I took tennis lessons when I was young, and liked playing tennis. But as I got fatter, it was hard. Hard to run, to get to the ball fast enough to set up the shot and hit it perfectly. I practiced in middle school with my dad and friend Angie, and in high school, I was on the tennis team jr. and sr. years. But I was no good. Too big. Couldn’t move well enough, and didn’t care to really put in the extra work it would have taken to get decent. I remember I had to order a special big tennis skirt. I would still like to play tennis one day again.
- Swimming: In elementary school I swam for the neighborhood team, then got accepted into the year round swim league. When we moved to Kentucky, I didn’t join another league. My sister then started to get much faster than I, and it made me mad. I got fatter, and she was this tiny stick thing. I swam in middle school for the neighborhood team, but never went back to year-round. Swam for high school team Freshman, Sophomore and Junior years, but was never very good. Too big. Although I do proud myself that my specialty stroke was the butterfly.
So as I sit and watch the Olympics, and hear the stories of the Olympians and their sacrifices they’ve made all their life, I wonder if it’s a genetic thing- this Superman-like drive and intensity that fuels their excellence.
Maybe it’s part of the parents sacrifice to support and push for their kids to do their absolute best. I can’t say I didn’t have this though, because my parents were both very supportive with everything my sister and I did. Still, this story was particularly touching. Can you imagine a better gift for a parent’s sacrifice than reaching the pinnacle of your sport… multiple times? Unreal.
Or is it simply just a personality trait? This burning desire to be the best, no matter what sacrifices need to be made. One day I’d like to do a triathalon: something that takes regimented training, drive, and persistence to accomplish. That’s as close as I’ll get to my Olympic moment. For the meantime, however, I must simply figure out how to take the baby steps to get closer to that point.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Leave comments below!