Are you an accidental athlete?
When I watch children play, when I remember what it was like for me to play as a child, I see only the joy in the activity itself, not the awful prospect of failure or even the promise of success. It's just play.
It's very difficult for us, as adults, to give ourselves permission to enjoy something that we don't think we're very good at. We tell ourselves that once we've reached some level of proficiency, once we've acquired some minimum set of skills, then - and only then - will the activity begin to be fun. At least that's the way it was for me.
I had tried to become a runner at a couple of earlier points in my life and each I time failed because I ignored the most important aspect of my running experience - I ignored that fact that I was having fun. I had it in my head that running needed to be, if not torturous, at least physically exhausting.
When I tried running at middle age, 100 pounds overweight, a 25 year, pack-and-a-half a day smoker, drinker, over-eater, I had to take a different approach. I knew I wasn't going to be any good. I just tried to enjoy myself. And a funny thing happened on my way to middle age - I became an athlete.
I forgot to mention that I am an awful athlete. I not just a merely mediocre athlete. I am awful. I am slow. Glacier slow. But I am having more fun than I had ever had. And I have been released from a life of sedentary confinement.
Join me, as together we uncovered the mysteries of the life of an accidental athlete.
Waddle on, friends.
John "the Penguin" Bingham
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