Sometimes a small moment in life can change the way you think. During my second triathlon as I was nearing the finish and the announcer said, “Here comes Michelle Kaseler, looking strong. This athlete is going to finish well.” I had never thought of myself as an athlete before. The word made me think of professionals, or at least people who earned college scholarships. I admired them, but I wasn’t one of them; I was just a girl who liked to work out and race.
Merriam-Webster defines an athlete as “a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.” Dictionary.com says “a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill.” Gifts and abilities are mentioned, but so is training and participation. Maybe an athlete could also be described as a person who prepares for and engages in physical competition. Many of us participated in sports when we were younger, only to stop after high school. The good news is that are plenty of events out there, whether your preference is racing, weight lifting, teams sports, or a forum to display your hard-earned physique.
Having this mindset changed the way I looked at things. Should I go to bed at a reasonable hour or keep watching re-runs? I’m an athlete, I need to sleep so my training will be effective (confession, this works about 25% of the time, but it’s something). Does it make you want to take better care of your body throughout the day? How does an athlete view food? A well-nourished and fueled body will perform better than one that isn’t. Junk food can keep you from realizing your potential. Does it give focus to your workouts? You have goals and events ahead. You’re not just going through the motions: you are in training.
My compensation as an athlete consists of an occasional age group award, EPSN isn’t trying to set up any interviews, no child has asked for my autograph, and I will never be be able to say the word quite like Cuba Gooding Jr. does in the clip below (I am an at-thlete!). On the other hand, I get out there and do it, not to make Gatorade or Nike happy, but because it’s who I am.
Train on, fellow athletes!