To win you must force others to be losers. You are better because you proved they are worse. Success is shown on the score line or being picked for a team. There is a sense of elitism that comes with being a competitive athlete. You do more than the average person. You work harder. You look better. You can do amazing things with your body. In short you are superior, and you prove it time and time again; in practice, in games, and in all the little things you do that nobody sees.
It is easy to get noticed when you are on top of the pile.
photo credit: stopsellingvanillaicecream.com
You fully acknowledge and allow every other area of your life to suffer to keep this identity of (insert sport here) ______________ player. You are willing to have less of everything else… money, relationships, career, health (yes, health, as sport most often breaks us down) to keep sight of this one thing clear.
Being good at this sport makes you extraordinary.
But it’s also alienating.
The more ranks you climb, the less you have around you to relate to, and want for better becomes a desperate need for best. This becomes apparent when you allow 95% of your life to be
less than it could be, so you can bask in the 5% of being excellent at your sport. You let these waves of greatness carry you through the mundaneness of days without the game, imagining your victory and how it is all so very worth it.
When you’re in it, you see this as sacrifice, as the cost of being special.
Outside of it, you realize how ruinous that choice really is.
Because when you’re done, and YOU WILL HAVE TO BE DONE, all that you gave away will be exactly what you search for to find meaning in your life. The most tragic stories are those that start off about how great they used to be.
To remedy this, you must honor and find gratitude in the ordinary.
If you only look forward to being happy during practice or competition, you’ll only find happy during practice or competition. But if you look for it the everyday, in all those hours away from what makes great, YOU WILL FIND JOY IN REGULAR THINGS, and you will start to recognize the value in life away from sport.
With so much more time available to you outside of the game than in, it’s a mathematically and scientifically solid principle.
To practice this:
- Embrace the people who were beside you when you were injured, whether you won or lost.
- Put for the effort to meet non-athletes. They will show you how to find satisfaction in being part of the greater whole. You may find out their lives are more astounding than they seem.
- Invest your time off from sport in non-sport interests. You will learn much more about yourself in these attempts then you ever will benching ten more pounds.
- Regain your fully functioning body. Move in ways opposite from which you have been. Let maximal numbers give way to maximal motion. Focus on the little things that allow you to move pain free.
Celebrating the ordinary you isn’t a downshift. It isn’t confetti-popping for a consolation prize. It’s the opportunity to appreciate all of you and everything you have to offer. Blinders removed, you will find you have far more talents than you ever knew.