Strength is Something You Choose
I learned something today from 2 incredible mountain bikers that I would like, need, to share with my cycling friends…
I rode today with 2 paraplegic cyclists, not on the road, but on Trail 100… Yes, mountain hand bikes! They were training for a race, just like me! I’ll admit it and bite the political bullet and say that I was shocked. As I rode with them, my thoughts quickly turned into amazement as I watched them navigated tough terrain and conquer landscape that most mountain bikers can’t clean. WOW!!
It was once said that the sign of a true athlete is one who is dripping in sweat at the point of exhaustion when no one is watching!
This says to me that being an athlete is for the self, not for the crowd, not for the fame, not for the medal… it’s about a commitment to oneself; a determination to succeed and triumph beyond the ordinary – it’s when your body and mind are begging for mercy, screaming to stop- it’s when you dig deep and find exactly what you need to continue –determination and self-dedication prevail. It’s this unbridled dedication to succeed no matter what that allows you to overcome any physical or mental obstacle that life has placed in your path… it’s you saying, go ahead throw everything you got at me, place all the obstacles you can in my path, I’ll go around them, climb over them or hell-I’ll even move them out of the way. I will persevere!
The disabled athletes that I met embody this sentiment; they exude the very essence of what it means to be an athlete. They do not sit and stare into the past with a woe-is-me attitude; instead they gaze into the future excited about what they will overcome next – because the future is within their control.
Where language might fail us, poetry of competition brings clarity – observing the defeat of boundaries, breaking through limitations and finding a connection between mind and body is what I have learned from these athletes about life, about self!
This lesson is important for all of us because it so motivating, the athlete’s spirit, courage, and humility is contagious – I feel so fortunate to have befriended such a group of athletes and as a result I am a better athlete, a better person. They have left an impression!