Growing up I was never the competitive child. I tried out a LOT of sports, but only 3 stuck for longer than the first season my mother had already paid for. Those were swimming, horseback riding, and skiing/snowboarding. While there were sports I continued through a lot of my childhood and some into high school I was never very competitive with them, which gave me the feeling I wasn’t as good as others. I didn’t even want to compete, but because I wasn’t I felt like I must not be very spectacular. I always felt bad that I never played a competitive sport throughout childhood, high school, and college. I just felt like most people did and it singled me out that I didn’t. I felt like I should have been more “sporty” whatever that even means.
When I moved back to NY in the fall of 2019 the first thing I wanted to do was signup for riding lessons again at my old barn. It wasn’t about being on a team or competing. I just missed that connection with a horse and I loved the sweat I got doing an activity I enjoy. It was amazing to do 14 weeks of lessons before it got too cold. The plan was to signup for more in the spring once it warmed up, but the pandemic put a hold on that.
In the winter I’m so lucky because my class goes up to a mountain in Great Barrington MA every Friday for a full day of ski instruction. This means that I also get to spend the day skiing or snowboarding. I was even lucky enough this year to find a Burton snowboard my size with bindings at a thrift shop for $125! I got to use it for the last ski day of the year and now it’s sharpened, waxed, and ready to go for next year. Where snowboarding used to be all about racing my friends, now I just love being out there and seeing what I remember, working on my speed, and attempting jumps again (very poorly and usually landing on my back starfish style).
SO, here we are, it’s June 2020, and recently my mom and I have been playing tennis almost every day since around my birthday in May. I’ve had a tennis racket for about two and a half years now, but was never able to actually get to the tennis courts in Boston even though I lived just down the street from public courts. The catch is that the courts were located near Northeastern University and I always felt I would be harshly judged by any “actual” athletes that would stroll past.
You might be asking “what’s changed when it comes to you worrying about being judged” and my answer is that it was more important for me to actually get to do the activity I love than to worry about what people would say about me being “athletic” or not. I was feeling sad just staring at my riding gear thinking about all the fun I used to have and knowing I could have that again if I just chose to.
It’s all just a choice. What is more important to you? Feeling happy playing a sport that you think is FUN, or not being judge, which probably wont happen anyway! I got tired of making choices because of other people. It’s much more fun to listen to my body and what it wants to do. Oh and since my hashtag for this year is #24LetsDoMore, you can bet I’ve got more sports up my sleeve to try out or bring back. This is just the beginning.
P.S. If anyone knows of adult gymnastics classes in the Mid-Hudson Valley area let me know!