Those Self Ascribed Labels

Image by Frank Pelligra
Image by Frank Pelligra

I was one of those kids that was thrown into every activity to see what stuck. As a toddler I had a promising start to career as a tee-ball player. I hit home runs like they were no big deal.

As a child, I played softball each summer and my limits as an athlete became present. I was a slow runner, I shied away from the ball, I hated standing out in the hot sun all afternoon when I knew I could be inside playing my Sega Genesis.

My athletic career came to an end when I was 11 years old. My softball coach at the time mentioned casually to my father, not knowing he was my dad, that I was the slowest runner he had ever seen. That was the nail in the coffin, from that point on I carried around the label: NOT ATHLETIC.

This classification of Not Athletic inspired me to follow other pursuits. I was a lousy softball player, but I became a pretty ok musician. I hated gym class, but I loved writing for the school newspaper. I was ok with not being athletic, if it meant I could be creative instead.

In my previous post I mentioned how I recently started going to the LA Derby Dolls’ Derby por Vida classes with hopes of one day trying out for Fresh Meat. My goal going into the class was to do some physical activity that was challenging yet fun. Little did I know how much I would grow to love those Sunday classes.

I continued to go every week and begin to see my skills and confidence increase on the track. Yet, that little voice in my head reminded me that I had no business being there. I was Not Athletic. How could I skate throughout the class knowing how slow and uncoordinated I was? Why would I even want to try to someday be on a team knowing that I was not an athlete?

As I began to get better at t-stops and snowplows, I started to rethink my athletic capabilities. It’s been 18 years since I last played softball, why should that dictate my capabilities today? Why have I limited myself for so long? Who’s to say that I can’t be athletic and creative at the same time?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve upped the athletic ante to include a morning workout routine. I feel my body get stronger and my stamina increase. I can feel the difference when I’m on the track and I am less tired throughout the day. I feel powerful, I feel triumphant, I feel like I could one day be an athlete.

I read this article recently, Why Declaring ‘I’m an Introvert!’ Limits your Lifein which the author, Drake Baer writes,”It’s tremendously unfortunate and fatalist to think that your personality type provides an exhaustive script for your life.” Why limit yourself to your own self appointed labels? Why limit yourself to the labels that others give you.

Who is to say that I am an athlete or not? I want to adopt the confidence to be what I say I am. Today, I am an athlete but I’m also a songwriter, and a blogger, and my job title, the list goes on and on.

 

 

 

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