I am an athlete

Posted on May 14, 2014 by

I had a revelation recently.  It’s late in coming, considering.  But here it is: I am an athlete.  No, really.

In my ecosystem this was simply impossible for the longest time.  My father ran marathons.  My best friend ran three seasons of track.  People I knew belonged to football and softball and baseball teams.  They liked screaming encouragement at their teammates from the sidelines and had other rituals that I couldn’t fathom, including caring who won the game.

And if that was athleticism, I wasn’t it.

It was only very recently that I finally figured it out: my longing to go kayaking more often, the way I get lost in the puzzle of rock climbing (even at a gym), that business of walking-forever-if-I-want-to, the immersion of hiking at my pace with my two feet, that’s athletic.

And I am an athlete.

I don’t have six-pack abs or a fat-free body.  I don’t wear my ponytail pulled through the hole in the back of a baseball cap.  I don’t spray my friends with Gatorade or talk smack or really care who wins the game.  I don’t need to.

I like to move my body, this one right here.  The one that confuses and perplexes and astonishes and annoys me.  The one that dehydrates easily and isn’t as strong as I want it to be.  The one that changes size and shape on a weekly basis  The one that blessedly (touch wood) doesn’t give me lower back trouble and has always managed to survive whatever I asked it to do.  The one that has walked all over everywhere.

This one.

This is my body.  And I am an athlete.

Are you, too?  Claim it right here in the comments or on Twitter with hashtag #Iamanathlete.  Tell me about it.  What makes you an athlete?

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