Have you ever wondered what it would take to be able to call yourself an athlete? I have. In fact, it occupies most of my internal drive and makes me push harder during training. But I’m not paid to train (as much as I’d love that), and I don’t take home many awards. I was never a colligate athlete, and I’m still learning what drives me. By the world’s standards, I’m not an athlete. But… I’d like to take a second and explain why my heart says otherwise. Why I consider myself an athlete, and why you probably should too.
A quick Google search results in this definition of an Athlete: “A person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.” Are you a person who is trained or skilled in exercises? I know that I am, (If you’ve ever stepped foot in a Crossfit gym you’ll understand how hilarious I find this definition), but does that qualify me to use the term “athlete” when referring to my sport hobbies?
I think it does. If you’re anything like me, you probably spend a good chunk of your time training. You’ve invested money, changed your lifestyle, traveled, and sacrificed for this passion of yours. Do you podium at every race? No. Do you chase after your dreams and put in the work to make yourself better with each passing day? Yes. That’s what it takes – that desire to keep pushing, keep striving, keep transforming into a better version of you. Mind, body, and soul.
Now, before you get your sweat-wicking panties in a bunch, let me clarify, I’m not suggesting that we all start strutting around claiming to be the next runner up for first place, or that we demand sponsorships or any amount of press. No, I’m simply suggesting that we begin to supplement our thinking as an athlete would. To take back the media-saturated image of athletes with their washboard abs (that they’ve worked very hard for in case you think me bitter), and begin to view athletes as people who have dedicated ample time and training to their chosen field. People that we can both admire and aspire to be.
The next time I take the field at an Armored Combat event or a Highland Games, I’m not going to focus on my rankings, what other people are doing, or how I might be the least experienced person there – no, next time I’m going to own my years of hard work and sacrifice that got me to this point. I’m going to define myself as an athlete. Someone who’s actively pursuing goals and making the hard work count.
What about you?
Are you an athlete too?