This week was scheduled to be the US Olympic team trials. That world feels like another life. How upset I was about the 2020 postponement feels like another life. I now find it hard to imagine this year happening any other way.
I’ve been doing a ton of PT and rehab after the achilles thing. Every time we find a new area of weakness or imbalance , my first thought is that I would never have had the chance to work on this in a normal season. I’ve seen so many examples of those opportunities for growth … working on mental training, increased lifting, new breathing techniques. I hope other people are finding these silver linings. The biggest one might be off the playing field.
Athletes across sports have been using their influence to help bring Black Lives Matter protests to main stream. Would we have seen this much vocal support of the movement if people had been traveling the country with games every other night? Or immersed in final training for the peak of their career, when you have to be endlessly frugal with emotional capital? Would we have seen this outpouring of personal stories and truth telling from black athletes? During the season, when everyone is weary of giving competitors any edge?
The postponements have allowed space. Olympics and Paralympics can be amazing, unifying events. But the Olympic Dream doesn’t need stadiums. It’s in every athlete working to improve. I hope we come out better for this time.
‘I want you to believe for a second that I am all-knowing… I want to tell you that I know for a fact that you will have everything that you dream of.’
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What would you do now? Who would you be? … I have watched normal, flawed, fearful human beings accomplish the extraordinary. For all of us, attaining what we hope for will require effort, discipline, focus, courage, joy, tolerance of errors, and a willingness to change. But, it does not require perfection. As long as our hearts are captured by dreams we should chase them. So, ask yourself, what would I do now if I knew that my dream would come true? – Shannon Thompson
When I read this the other day it was exactly what I needed to hear. So I’m leaving it here in case anyone else feels the same. In an unprecedented situation, we can still act with our dreams in mind, with the faith that one day soon we will have made it to the other side, and we will look back on this time together.
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The author is sending out daily emails with more nuggets of wisdom just like this one.
Here is her instagram, and here is the blog.
“Be where your feet are.” It’s sports psych wisdom about staying in the moment that also applies to life in lockdown. I liked this and many other gems from the podcast Laughter Permitted with @juliefoudy interviewing Dr Colleen Hacker.
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Dr Hacker was the mental skills coach for the US women’s national team, and gives tips on how sports psych tactics can help in a this period of stress and uncertainty. I also love just hearing their mutual respect and care for each other even years later. Bonds forged in sport last lifetimes 💪🏼💪🏼.
Here’s the link to the episode.
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The photo is from @jordan.beckett
A recommended listen for uncertain and uncharted times: the @onbeing podcast with Rebecca Solnit on hope.
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She flips the aversion to uncertainty on its head. Hope needs uncertainty.
Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes — you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone.
Here is the link to the podcast episode.
When Cortney White shared this photo I was a little annoyed. In what world would I ever want to use an “ugly cry” picture. 😑January was so naive.
Joking aside. This week has been hard. Part of me hoped that if we shared enough memes, or found the perfect TikTok dance, the mood would stay light. We would make it through with mediocre social distancing, and come out the other side mostly unscathed. I deluded myself, and this week it’s sunk in. As my dad has been saying… this isn’t one blizzard, we are in it for the winter.
They announced that the Olympics are postponed for a year. At this moment all the focus needs to be on fighting the virus spread. I know that. But I wasn’t exactly stoic in my processing.
After the indoor track season, I started mapping out the 16 weeks until the Olympic Trials. I was grateful and excited, even joyous. After a long period of work, and near misses and mistakes, I had grown and incorporated new knowledge. I was healthy, having the time of my life, and the training of my life. I love that process of betterment. And I couldn’t wait to see what it might become. Of course, all the parts are still there. It’s just the schedule has changed.
But I’ve also known for a while that this would be my final Olympiad. I looked forward to exploring what it would mean to transition to a different career. And I’m not sure how the Olympics pushing back is going to affect that timing.
Top it off with all the financial unknowns. For an athlete, that looks like uncertainty with what this means for revenue streams, and if there will be opportunities to race, which impact exposure, sponsorships, and rankings.
I realize there are a lot of people in really tough situations. And public health is at risk, and the number one priority. I don’t mean this post to discount any of that.
I guess I’m just reaching out to the people who are scared or uncertain – about job security or finances; or dreams deferred, plans put on hold; health, safety, identity. I don’t know how to wrap up or when this will get better. I know connection matters. Even if it’s a connection over a million personal heartbreaks.