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Monday, March 25, 2013

Why 'an athlete'?

Image from Flickr, by familymwr
Yesterday, I wrote about identity and shared the rules I've decided to use to build that new identity.  Rule number 10 may have raised a few eyebrows, because it didn't make a lot of sense on its own.  That rule was "I am an athlete", and I wanted to go into why that was my choice.

First, there's a reason why I ruled out choices like "I am a marathon runner" or "I am an MMA fighter" or similar things.  That reason is simply that I don't have any intention of competing.  While I might take MMA classes (I've taken a few and had a blast), or I might choose to run in a marathon at some point, that's not something I'm actually considering right now.  Why say I compete in a sport if I'm not competing?

In that case, why be an athlete?

An athlete is a generic term, but it embodies a lot of things.  Athletes, at least the great ones, are extremely focused.  Their lives center on their athletic pursuits.  Everything about a true athlete screams "athlete".

The fact of the matter is, I desperately needed that.  Oh, I'm still a journalist, a father, a husband, a son, and all of those other things, but I'm also an athlete.

I make no illusions about fighting in the UFC, playing in the NFL, or taking up a career in professional basketball.  I'm 39 years old, and while I played a little bit of basketball in high school, I have no background or skills to actually compete at those levels.  It's not about that and never has been.

What this is about is maintaining an athletic lifestyle.  It's not about fast cars and fast women.  It's about what the truly dedicated bring to the table.  It's about my food choices, my choices to work out, my choices about what to drink or even what to wear. 

I'm just a guy, but I want to be more.  I strive to be more.  I crave it with all my being.  I don't want to be an athlete.  I am an athlete.

Now, the work is in making sure the it's impossible for anyone in their right mind to deny it.  It's not that them knowing it matters.  Instead, it only means that I have become an athlete so completely that it truly is part of my essence.

At that point, I transcend mediocrity and move into a whole new level.

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