What I learned in the Locker Room: Size Doesn’t Matter

Yesterday I noted that my life has not followed a set path, nor will the blog. Perhaps I’m following the example of President Jimmy Carter, trying to do to much to fast.  Tonight while I was at a meeting my mind reverted to this journey and I decided I needed to take a step back from the arrival in Malawi in 1997; way back.

From a young age I loved playing and watching sports. Many Sunday mornings I could be found in the basement watching European league soccer before anyone else was up in the house. All summer I was on baseball teams, soccer teams and swim teams. During football season the games were always on in the family room. When I moved to Canada I spent the entire first winter trying to figure out curling and questioning why there was so much fighting in hockey (it was the early 80s when bench brawls were very common). Then in high school I discovered the magic of playing football. So yes, in my youth I could be labled a jock. Still to this day the football games are always on but I have taken to long distance running and the peace of mind it offers.

I was never the most skilled, fastest, strongest or the most sportsmanlike. I practiced hard and played hard. When I moved to Canada athletics offered me a way to find social connections and later social allegiance: I found a clique or two depending on the season. All of those teams taught me the value, no, the necessity of team work.  Team sports illustrated the reality of the world in a microcosm.

On a team you have the captains, the highly skilled players, the hard working grunts, the bench sitters and of course coaches. On the field each person fills a role based on their particular designation. A  team monopolizes the individuals to maximum capacity to win: or lose. Each player arrives with their own dreams, desires and goals.  But when the whistle blows all must support each other to achieve the team objective and live with the results .

At the end of the game, when together in the locker room it never mattered if you were the captain or the bench sitter. All that mattered was the goal achieved or missed that day. At the end of it all we needed each other, we respected each others individual roles and needs. As youth, we learned that there was no I in TEAM, but there was an I in PARTNERSHIP.

Years later when I started training for my first marathon I was reminded of the power partnerships can bring to sport. I started training alone.  After doing my first 30 KM race I was demoralized, sure I would never be able to add another 12.2 KM when the marathon day arrived.

The following week I went to a http://www.RunningRoom.com run club on Sunday morning for a 32 KM run and met other people with the same challenges and goals. Together we learned to support each other. Push each other when needed, console others. We learned what each others goals were and motivation. We became partners in the journey to be marathoners.



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