Day Two Hundred Twenty One: August 8
This is me after just coming back from a run. I’ve never been a very athletic person. I played Little League Baseball when I was a kid. When I first started out, playing tee-ball, athletic ability mattered little since the ball was on a tee and there was a 5-run per inning limit. In those days I remember quickly grasped the rules of baseball. I played second base, and could understand when to throw the ball to first base, when to step on second base, and when to catch a fly ball. And I remember being at least better than average. But as the game got harder, and more about athletic ability, I fell behind. By the last year I played Little League, I was one of the worst players on my team.
By the age of 30, I’m secure enough in myself to admit that I’m terrible at something, because I can feel OK at being good in enough other things and I know I don’t have to be good at everything. Terrible as I was, though, I still learned a valuable life lesson…you have to recognize things you’re good at, and things you’re not, and recognize you can’t be great at everything. Find what you’re skilled in and what you love, and let the rest go.
Then I did something really crazy for being the clumsy non-athlete that I am. I joined the Navy on an ROTC scholarship out of high school. And I had to run. And work out. And be in good shape. I remember the summer before college. I was in such bad shape that I went to the track at the high school I had just graduated from. At first it was an accomplishment for me to run a whole lap, all of a quarter mile, without stopping. Then two. I think that was as far as I got, barely able to run half a mile. Let’s just say I got a lot of, uh, “special attention” in the military for being the out of shape klutz.
Then something crazier happened. Slowly but surely, I got better. And I’m still not a great athlete, but now I run 5 miles in a night, instead of struggling to run half a mile. I’m still in the Navy Reserve, so I still have to pass military physical fitness standards. But craziest of all, somewhere along the line, I grew to enjoy getting and being in good physical condition, and taking care of my body.
I’m still clumsy, though.