I recently took up a new hobby and it sort of happens to be Olympic Weightlifting.
It might seem kind of odd for a 34-year-old, married, PTA secretary and mother of three to be interested in that kind of thing, but if you knew me you probably wouldn't find it weird at all. Then again, my Dad is still like "huh?" so maybe not...
Let's lay down a little back story here...I've played sports and been active my whole life. I even took dance lessons for a few years but that dream ended fast when I realized that dance required a certain type of grace and flexibility that were not my special gifts in life.
I participated in everything from swimming, to track and field, basketball, and the love of my adolescent life - volleyball. My parents were supportive of anything I wanted to do with one rule - once the season started I wasn't allowed to quit no matter how much I wanted to. I suffered through a season of 7th grade track under this duress but you know what? I came out of that alright and later went on to be All-State athlete in both track and volleyball and wasn't too shabby at basketball either.
I could write a novel on the ways that participating in extracurricular activities like sports benefitted my life. Some of the happiest memories from that those years revolve around practices, games, tournaments, time on the bus with my friends and teammates, and that one time my high school basketball coach compared me to "a bull in a china shop" at our end of the year athletic banquet. That's exactly the kind of comparison every teenage girl wants to have drawn in her favor, amiright?
Turns out it was a compliment, a backhanded one, but one I'd later grow to appreciate nonetheless all these years later. I've never fit into that set of standards that women are supposed to set for themselves. Physically, I've always stood out in a crowd. I'm 5'10" and not exactly delicate in stature. I've also never worried about speaking my mind and having an opinion. I realize now that sports and the different activities I've been a part of are a huge reason why I am the way I am. They gave me confidence, strengthened my leadership skills, and instilled in me a certain sense of fearlessness that continues to serve me well to this day.
To that point, 6 months ago I felt like I was in a bit of a rut with life in general. I somehow found my way to Olympic Lifting and thought, why not? I participated in my first competition 6 weeks after I started, which was hilarious and terrifying because WHAT THE FREAKING CRAP AM I EVEN DOING HERE?
I've been hooked ever since.
No, I'm not the best or the strongest in my sport. I didn't win anything at my competition and that wasn't even the goal. I just wanted to get out there, to have a goal and to see it through. I totally did just that and you know what? It felt amazing. Now I have new goals and a new sport and even though it's a lot of hard work and sometimes I wonder what I got myself into, I've never been happier or felt more at home.
A bull in a china shop indeed... I'll take it!
What are your goals? If you could take up any sport, what would it be?
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EDDIE THE EAGLE – IN THEATERS FEBRUARY 26
Inspired by true events, Eddie the Eagle is a feel-good story about Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton), an unlikely but courageous British ski-jumper who never stopped believing in himself – even as an entire nation was counting him out. With the help of a rebellious and charismatic coach (played by Hugh Jackman), Eddie takes on the establishment and wins the hearts of sports fans around the world by making an improbable and historic showing at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. From producers of Kingsman: The Secret Service, Eddie the Eagle stars Taron Egerton as Eddie, the loveable underdog with a never say die attitude.
Directed By: Dexter Fletcher
Screenplay By: Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton
Produced By: Matthew Vaughn, Adam Bohling, David Reid, Rupert Maconick, Valerie Van Galder
Story By: Simon Kelton
Starring: Taron Egerton, Christopher Walken, Hugh Jackman