Today after my evening rowing practice I was reminded of a book that has sat on my shelf, unread for about 5 years. The title is "We Are All Athletes: Bringing Courage, Confidence, and Peak Performance into Our Everyday Lives" by Mariah Burton Nelson.
On the cover, Mariah is quoted as follows: "Think of yourself as an athlete. I guarantee you it will change the way you walk, the way you work, and the decisions you make about leadership, teamwork, and success." And in the "D is for Discipline" chapter, she quotes Chris Gekker, a trumpet player: "In order to enjoy a long, successful career, you must not only tolerate repetition, you must find beauty and meaning within continuous practice."
Among others, these quotes capture the essence of what I have been thinking about this evening. It's amazing how good I've felt upon returning to rowing. After three years of letting life take charge (rather than taking full charge of my life), I moved away from something that I really love for fitness and general wellness. In the month that I've been back on the water, I've noticed a change in how I think about myself; how I work; how I walk; how I make decisions.
Being an athlete is so much more than the "daily grind" of sport; it is an identity and contagious way of being that reflects on many facets of life. I love this sport because it is addictive in the moment, but it also makes me a better person who is courageous, confident, and more spiritually sound outside of the sport. I often promote rowing for the physical health benefits while neglecting the joy that comes from being a part of something that is life-changing in other arenas (the same could be said for other sports). I'm going to try to be better about sharing that :) Oftentimes, people who haven't tried it can't relate to my pure addiction to the sport...
Back to Gekker's statement...It really "spoke" to me today. This was my first time in X years doing doubles. The morning row was ok (I was halfway asleep) but it definitely was rockier than we had all hoped. And to be honest I get quite annoyed when other rowers turn around and try to coach their teammates (the guy 2 seats in front of me was doing that) so I was a little mentally distracted. Still, I was happy to just be up and exercising with the sunrise and the calm water of the morning. The evening row, however, was amazing! With each piece, our crew improved in some way or another and we found the "beauty and meaning [of] continuous practice." It doesn't always happen that way but I was glad that it happened today; I was reminded of how quickly (12 hours later!) things can turn around with disciplined repetition.
So, what's my point? I'm not sure...I just felt like writing about my happy day and renewed sense of balance as an athlete :) I believe that the world is a better place with the confidence, courage, success, discipline, etc. gained when we're in/on the water. Even on rough days the "athlete" still resides in each of us!
Beyond my bedtime...Doubles part two tomorrow!