April 6

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

 

Your dream was to be in the Olympics.  You started training at age 5 — which was also when you learned that some children began their training as early as 2. This news encouraged you to work harder.  Although your coach insisted you take one day off each week, you’d continue Sundays in your home gym, ensuring six-plus hours of practice every day.

Even when you weren’t physically practicing, you ran through routines in your head, imagining your body’s movement through air, hands on the bars, feet landing firm on the mat.  You dreamed of exhibitions, try-outs, then selection for the US team and the glory of gold.

Perhaps, in real life, you’d settle for bronze…but why dream, if you weren’t going to dream big?

The physical demands were hard.  You also neglected your schoolwork, and other social activities.  Other hopefuls at your gym seemed to have richer lives.  Although they didn’t practice as much as you did, they still managed to score higher on their exhibition routines.

Which made you feel like you should work harder.

And made you feel worse when you failed to qualify.  Not just for the Olympics, but for the regionals.  You could always try again, you told yourself.  But then a leg injury essentially ended your career.  At 9 years old.

You were too young to handle that kind of disappointment.  It felt like your life was over.

Of course, as you learned later, worse things could happen…

[Continued in tomorrow’s entry]