To the youth athlete I was, and the adult athlete I’ll never be
March 17, 2016
March 17, 2016
I follow a coaching Facebook page titled ‘Proactive Coaching’. They provide the application necessary to develop character based teams, athletic programs, schools and businesses. For the most part, I love their presentations and motivational stories. This week they shared a story titled ‘To The Youth Athlete I Was, And The Adult Athlete I’ll Never Be’. This title totally caught my eye as it is still a concept I somewhat struggle with. In the article, Gina Davis writes, “It’s hard for people that have never fallen in love with a sport to understand the loss when it comes time to find new passions. But everyone can understand the pain of losing something they adore and the never-ending need to explore the “what ifs” and the “I would haves.” Kalynn and I have always tried to define the term ‘athlete’ in our eyes and always found it a bit difficult. I think Ms. Davis’ statement gives some perspective on where we are coming from. The ‘athlete’ we most identify with is the one who fell in love with a sport and understands the loss when it comes time to find new passions.
After playing team sports for about 14 years, my body gave out on me. I suffered so many minor injuries that impaired my playing ability. The dream of playing in college was stripped from my future due to the beating my body had taken over the years. Once it was time to go to college, the idea of not playing a competitive sport was foreign to me. What was I going to do? I played intramural sports and majored in Kinesiology so I could get some court & field time in every chance I got. But, it wasn’t the same. I was mad at my younger self. Why didn’t you try harder? Why didn’t you diligently attend the recommended rehab sessions? Why were you not more proactive with your health? These questions haunted me.
I had practiced yoga infrequently throughout my childhood, teen and young adult years. It wasn’t until I graduated college and moved back home that I really dove into the yogic practice. Once intramural sports ceased, I was really lost. Sport no longer defined me. Why was I put on this earth if it was not to play sport? That was all I knew. My body, however, disagreed. I was in so much pain. I forced myself to regularly attend yoga classes at this stage in my life. I forced myself to go every day. I didn’t really like it….mentally. Physically, I felt great! Day after day, practice after practice, I started to feel amazing. I started to feel so amazing that I was able to join CrossFit and social sport leagues. It was almost like the good ole’ days again!
Through my yoga practice, I also noticed what a toll sport & training took on me mentally. I had always equated my pain to the physical surface not being mindful of what was happening internally. Not only was yoga healing me physically, it was allowing me to listen to my body and accept the present state I was in. It truly was mind blowing. I thought, where has this diligent practice been all my life? If I had started this great yoga practice when I was 4, maybe I would have physically made it through collegiate sport, or even further!
With all this being said, if I could write a letter to my youth self it would stress the importance of a regular yoga practice. I would tell myself to take it a little easier on the training end. Listen to your body and only go to your edge, not past it. I hope now, through Yoga Athletex, we can bring this mindset to our athletes. Our intent is allow you to be able to play your sport longer and deal with critical incidents along the way. Whether you’re a 14 year club volleyball player or a 40 year old cyclist, we are here for you. With smart training and a regular yoga practice, your body will serve you longer. Your total well being will surpass what you thought it could be. What do you say? Will you practice with me?
With my deepest bow of gratitude to the greatness of sport,