Sunday, March 2, 2014


Diana the Huntress, Metropolitan Museum of Art  
I used to think being an athlete was easy, after all, an athlete does not have to memorize math equations, understand literature, paint a picture, right? Just take aim at your target. Wrong! After careful study, and experimenting with my own potential athletic prowess, I believe the complete athlete encompasses those very three attributes.

math equations

An athlete knows physics. If not the actual equations, it will be the sense of such a reality. She ( for the sake of simplicity, I will use the pronoun "she" to include the "he" in our lives as well) may not know the numbers, the percentages, the weights, but by Jove, how many times have your heard a coach and athlete say, "Know your numbers!"  This is so true. The numbers show us reality. Yes, we may have a better serve in tennis, but our opponent has a better "game." Whoever wins, will win by the numbers. It is the final score (in numbers) that is recorded, not the fancy serve, the artful slice. You have to have a more complete game than your opponent to make the numbers work in your favor. Tip those scales!

understand literature

Yes, read the classics. Have an underpinning to your everyday life.  Understand that quality is a choice, each day of your life. Being an athlete has challenges, temptations, emotional ups and downs, and literature will give you that certain foundation to teach and comfort you in ascertaining and reaching your goals and dreams. Know that human foible and exalted oversight are traits that appear in every competition, in each way of life. On or off a playing field, the 'behind the scenes' will have a life of its own. Beware that you, the athlete, stay true to your self promise, true to your sport, true to having good form. Do not succumb to temptation, be it laziness, a so-called shortcut to physical strength (steroids), changing direction and throwing your dreams away. You MUST build strength, you CAN build strength. Literature will give you a natural shortcut to demonstrate the mistakes others have made, to teach human nature, so that you can get beyond and improve upon yourself, plus those around you.

paint a picture

Know how your body works, under stress and at rest. This requires paying attention to the little nuances and maximizing potential.  Believe me, I have been trying to master this for years. I have made progress, but be sure to make time your ally, and keep at it.  For instance, the parts of the body are interconnected, yes we know that, but how many times do we consider the parts and not the whole? This is how to paint a picture. An athlete visualizes, feels, and senses, not just the individual parts, the major stress centers as in glutes and quads, but becomes an artist.  Years ago I would paint and draw (love watercolors), and an artist considers the entirety of her work including not only the individual parts, but also their placement in the entire composition of the picture. An athlete  paints a picture too.  With her own acumen and personal strengths, the athlete uses her greatest potential to consider the entire picture and get the job done.

The take away here? An athlete knows her environment, the interior and exterior, and uses space to create the whole.  She uses her math on multiple levels, she tries her best to understand human nature as competition demands a steady mind, and as an artist creates a new view on perhaps a very old game~ she rises, again, to a higher level to take the prize.

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