Tuesday, July 14, 2009

DAY 29 Freewheeling

Posted by Mariel on Tuesday, July 14, 2009
There are two types of athletes: the first kind are the natural-born sportsmen, quick to learn and nimble at any game. The second category are those who have passion for an activity, yet to be good, must endure extensive training. And then there is a combination of the two, genetically-gifted athletes who have the discipline to immerse themselves in rigid practice. I believe they are the ones who make it to Olympic teams, the NBA, and so forth.

I would like to believe I fall under the second category. You see, as much as my peers from college would tell you I was quite the sporty one—I rock-climbed for a couple of years and have a black belt in taekwondo; I ran and biked on campus—I'm more of a practice-makes-perfect kind of 'athlete.' Plus, I never fared well with team sports like basketball, volleyball, and the like, so I had low grades in high school P.E. And I'm the last person you'd be able to invite to a company sportsfest. No way.

As much as I am proud of having a black belt in a martial art, let me tell you that I hated every minute that I had to compete, and that I lost all the time. It was also a terrible way to lose during meets because they usually announced it like they do in boxing: The referee holds both your and your opponent's hand and then raises the winner's. Now if you get a truly cruel (well, maybe not intentionally) referee, he'll swing your arm first, as if to declare you victorious, before raising the other person's .

What I did love was the regular training. It was fun and invigorating, until it was time for the last part of the session, which involved sparring. Blech. As for the practice-makes-perfect part, a black belt in Taekwondo usually takes two years to complete, I did mine in four.

As for climbing, I come from a family of mountaineering enthusiasts. And THAT is why I have no interest in trekking and exploring uncharted peaks. In my teens, I disliked being dragged along to "fun" climbs. I had a nightmarish experience being taught how to pitch a tent, and all I could remember was how NOT fun it was for me.

What I did enjoy and explore on my own with friends is rock and sportclimbing. Now, there is a difference between mountain and rock climbing. The former entails, well this is my very shallow reason for not wanting to have anything to do with it, packing an enormous backpack and spending the night up in the mountain with no bathrooms and basically breaking your back lugging your haul (although these days, you can actually get porters to help you out).
That small speckle on the wall is me.

Rockclimbing on the other hand can be done indoors and if you do decide to take it outside, with a little trekking you find a rockface, climb it, and go home to your own bed afterwards—warm shower and all.

Going back to my athletic theory, I never liked competing; I simply enjoyed the activity. Although climbing competitions were gentler and less painful than getting short of beat up in Taekwondo.

I'm now getting into inline skating. You may notice a pattern of my inclination to non-threatening and non-competitive activities. I'm still learning to balance and glide on my rollerblades, and padding myself head to toe with protective gear. I like that I am able to think and roll with the wind without having to worry about who's winning or who's ranking first.
Just me, my thoughts, and my wheels.

Skates and pads images courtesy of Amazon.com


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