I used to have an edge.
I used to wake up every morning intent on being the best at something, and there were times when I actually was. I felt like I had the drive of a national team player..even if I really didn’t.
Whether it were grades in school, performance on a field or on a court, working harder than the next guy at my job. My life revolved around being the best at everything I did.
Something drastic has happened to my competitive drive.
I still have goals, and I hope to make a difference with my life, but I am losing the focus to succeed.
That’s a problem, right?
I should still want to be better than everyone else, at writing sentences or connecting on social media. I should be faster and stronger and more competent than everyone around me.
That’s not what I want anymore.
Maybe it’s a midlife thing. Maybe I am finally looking around and wondering what purpose is served by being the best.
Maybe the point is not to be first in line, but to be the most pleasant and loving person standing in line. To pay attention to those around me. To make eye contact and engage intently. How could I ever do that if I am keeping my focus in front of me, only glancing behind to make sure no one is gaining on me?
God is working on me….of this I am sure.
I wrote two blog posts last week, for my new Choosing to Grow: For the Sport of It . The first had to do with the fact that, instead of division I level competition, I am doing Jazzercise now. The second talked about how top-level female athletes are wielding sex-appeal to drive up the popularity of women in sports. I had no idea that these two things were going to collide for me this morning.
I woke up eager to get to my Jazzercise class, and as we exercised, I fumbled with a few of the new songs. There is nothing quite as humbling as having had so many years of physical prowess mean nothing as my feet are supposed to sashe’ across the room gracefully. I’ve never moved that way.
Toward the end of the class, when we were in a long set of shoulder presses, the instructor started talking about Dancing with the Stars. She was rattling off the famous contestants, and I was just waiting to hear her announce that Hope Solo was among the contestants. She asked us who she was missing, and I piped up, “Hope Solo!”
“Hope Solo, who’s that?” She looked at me with a quizzical expression.
“She’s the goalie for the US National soccer team,” I told her.
“Oh, a soccer player,” she relayed to the class through her microphone as she continued to press and lift and press and lift.
There is a part of me that is sad Hope Solo is not a name Jazzercisers apparently know, but now I am really hoping she does well in the competition. She deserves to have people know who she is, and soccer deserves some pop-culture recognition. Hope is crossing a line into celebrity, and I will be cheering for her to do well.
Going to Jazzercise crosses a line for me too. My college teammates can hardly imagine that I am floating on a wood floor lifting barely more than five pounds in my lifting routine, but I love it.
I love it because it is new, I have to learn something, I get better each time, it is not monotonous, it is social, it is not competitive, and I feel great when I’m done. That’s all I need exercise to be for me anymore.
I have shed the attitude that if women cannot move as quickly as I can, or are as coordinated as I am, or have the strength I admire, they are not worth my time.
I applaud the women who go to these classes who are heavy, or older, or not quite as coordinated as other athletes I’ve known. They show up.
What makes their exercise, their presence in that room, any less important? They are each worthy of the unconditional love we all crave. (Oh my gosh, I think I’m sounding like a hippie pacifist or something!!)
There is a place for competition, but I want to invest more time in my life on relationships. I don’t want to beat people anymore, and if that is the “IT” I’ve lost, I’m seriously okay with that.
In the next few days, I’ll be writing a blogpost on the Choosing to Grow: For the Sport of It blog about whether winning and losing should be the focus for sports, and if that should be the aim at every level of competition. If you are interested in the sports theme and topic, make sure to subscribe to that blog. Rarely are my two blogs going to collide like they did today.
Learn more about Meagan at her website: www.meaganfrank.com