Thursday, April 30, 2009

we become the things we do

Lately I have been thinking about how and why I do what I do. There is something inside me that makes me (over) commit to any and all activities I get my mind set on. It's kind of funny...I don't think I am really that talented at any of the sports I have taken on. BUT I become so obsessed that I think about it all the time, and with that level of commitment it's hard not to improve. At only :) 28 years I have done (and become) many things. Here's a brief recap:

Age "earlier than I can remember" to 18: baseball. When I was 11-years old, my baseball coach had my parents convinced that I was going to be an awesome baseball player (yes, at 11 years old!). This got into my head, too, and the obsession began. After a year of adjusting to life in a new town, I was committed to baseball. Is it unhealthy for a 12-year old to obsess about sports 24-7? I think maybe... At 12 I was 5'11" and 150 pounds. YES, I was a big kid. So, of course at this age I was on top of my game. As a pitcher I was one of the hardest-throwing (and wildest) in Arizona. And I could swing a bat. I could not sleep at night because I visualized when I closed my eyes. I could "feel" myself swinging a bat and making perfect contact. At 14 I convinced my parents to let me play baseball year-round. This meant weekend trips to Phoenix EVERY WEEK to play a double-header. I started lifting weights daily. My dad installed a net to catch balls in the garage, and I would hit a minimum of several hundred balls per day...with weighted bats. Well, I got older and there was suddenly a problem. I hadn't grown and everyone had caught up. Sure I had gotten stronger, but at 17 I was still 5'11''. My dad had been convinced that I would take a baseball scholarship for college. Oops... Lucky for me (and surprise to all :) ) I was actually somewhat intelligent, and was able to get a full ride based on academics. Phew! I tried to walk on at the U of A as a freshman, but couldn't quite make it. Despite years of devotion and training, the talent simply wasn't there.

Age 13-20: wakeboarding. Yes, my mistress to baseball. Enemy of my parents (i.e. distraction from baseball). I learned to waterski at 6 years old, and started wakeboarding soon after they came out. I'm talking directional wakeboards with bungee straps. I was hooked from my first ride (which was actually in January three weeks after Christmas--like I said, I'm kind of a nut like that). Riding was an outlet for me. No pressure from family--it was just for me. But, as happens for me, my competitive spirit took over. When I wasn't visualizing baseball I was dreaming of wakeboarding. I practiced handle-passes before bed. I strapped shoes onto a skateboard, attached a rope to a post, and practiced wakeboarding on my girlfriend's trampoline. Every weekend I rode until I couldn't stand up. Fall after fall I rode until I nailed whatever trick I was learning. It got to the point where my dad and I would fight over how to drive the boat...seriously. I entered one competition in Phoenix. Not quite the talent to take it to the next level (not that I saw a future with wakeboarding...but whatever). Parents sold the boat and river place (unrelated to wakeboarding), and that was the end of the story. I haven't ridden in over five years, and I finally sold my board last year. ALTHOUGH...parents just got a new river place. We might see a resurrection of this wakeboarding thing before long.

20-21: bowling. Don't laugh...too much. So what "sport" can you possibly get into as a college student. Hmmmmm...hanging out with friends, drinking, late nights? BOWLING!!! Not too much to say here. Started going to late-night specials at Golden Pins for all-you-can-bowl. Before you know it, I have my own shoes, my own ball, and a PB of 265. Okay, this sport is not for me...time to move on.

21-24: running. Let me start by saying I was NOT a runner (see above). In fact I hated running. My PR for the mile in high school was 7:45. I was so excited when I finished because I had made it four laps without walking. Hey, you've got to take the small victories, right? Like many freshmen, I gained a bunch of weight. Suddenly there was no sport. Pizza was everywhere! Good food was cheap food...and I ate a lot of it. Sophomore year I decided to change that. I started running 1-2 miles a day. It still wasn't fun, but it grew on me. I still remember the first time I finished two miles and felt like I could keep going without dying. As for many new runners I was plagued by minor injuries. I got shin splints all the time. I was too heavy to run, but couldn't lose weight until I ran (sounds like "I eat because I'm unhappy, and I'm unhappy because I eat". ohhhh, fat bastard I once felt your pain!). Then I had a breakthrough. During an internship in NC I started trail running. Soft trails, lots of nature, and I was hooked! I signed up for my first running race. Ever. The Tucson Marathon. Seriously, this is me... I kept with running off and on, but couldn't stay hooked. There wasn't enough variety for me, and I knew I would never be competitive as a runner.

26-???. Triathlon. Don't need to say much here. Bought a bike and some speedos, and got to work! Something new. Something different. Something I could do for the rest of my life. Something I might be somewhat competitive at? Awesome. Two years later I'm putting in 15 hours/week and raising my goals on a monthly basis. It is so much fun to enter events and take the family. Last week I raced. Shannon raced. Rylie raced the under-4 division (he he). I am excited to see where this goes!

1 comment:

Andy Suter said...

cool post dude. im liking the blog