The thought of being a team player, in regards to sports, terrifies me. I played soccer in third grade, and I remember being petrified of having to be on the field. I remember fiercely praying Hail Mary’s – I’d give Her anything, do anything, as long as the soccer ball didn’t come my way.
As you can imagine, I often had a bone to pick with the Virgin Mary after each game.
In middle school I awkwardly played basketball. I once made a basket – in my own team’s basket. I was so flustered when I got the ball that I hadn’t remembered that we just switched baskets after halftime.
But then in high school I found swimming. Swimming is a team sport, but not really. The swim team offered me true camaraderie, but it was void of the fear of anyone passing me the ball. When it was my heat, I dove into the water with five other girls, but I was truly racing against myself.
In the pool, I was graceful. I was smooth and fluid, unlike my spastic movements of attempting to run and keep up with girls on the court or field.
And nothing could beat the moment when I’d breathlessly smack my hand against the finishing wall and look up to the timers, hoping to hear that I beat my best time.
And that’s what I’ve now found in running. I’m not yet smooth and graceful, but it has given me another chance to compete against myself.
If you’re someone like me, and you prefer to compete against yourself, you know that it is possible to lose. When you lose against yourself, you know it feels more disappointing than losing to someone else. But when you win, it’s a victory to cherish.
Let’s chat – Are you a team competitor or a personal competitor?