All throughout middle school and junior high I disliked gym class. I was the competent bystander (I term I later earned in my Teaching Methods in Physical Education course): I would get to the front of the line and all of a sudden have to tie my shoe and then quickly scoot my butt to the back of the line. I wasn’t an athlete and I avoided competitions based on athletic abilities. I had decided I wasn’t an athlete, mostly because my gym teachers decided I wasn’t. My mother recently gave me my elementary school report cards and every year the comments under physical education indicate I was a good student who participated regularly and learned the skills. What the hell happened between grade 5 and grade 6? Again, I had decided I wasn’t an athlete, mostly because my gym teachers decided I wasn’t. (One person can make a huge difference.)
I avoided gym throughout high school but when I went to university, specifically in my second year at Acadia University, things changed. I discovered the science of physical activity and I was lucky enough to get special permission to take two kinesiology courses. Once I sat through my first athletic injuries lecture I knew something needed to change. I was currently enrolled as a psychology major but I still wanted to avoid the physical activity courses that required me to athletic (which Acadia required to be a Kinesiology graduate) so a quick internet search led me to the University of Ottawa’s Human Kinetics program. That was the day I did something crazy: I applied to a physical activity based program at a totally different university in a city I’d never even been to.
Guess what? That was the first best decision I made. It was risky and terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time! My Acadia friends weren’t sure why I had decided to transfer and I couldn’t even really put it into words back then, but I understand now. I was just starting to learn then that to get where you truly want to go, where you are meant to go, means you’ve got to do some crazy things.
Since then I’ve done some more crazy things: move to Georgia to work at a school for at-risk youth; go back to university to get my education degree; join a fitness class that required me to run up Citadel Hill at 6am with the sun blinding me every step of the way; accept a first date with a divorced military man with three children; willingly pay to run through mud; walk into a room with heavy bags and throw my first punch, start my own business..all of these crazy things led me to more crazy things which have led me to here at my computer typing this.
Maybe these things aren’t crazy to you or maybe they’re so wild you’d never even imagine yourself attempting them. I never thought I could feel good about being physically active and here I am. I never imagined myself running 5k let alone 10k, but I’ve done it more than once. There are so many amazing things about my life that I never even could have dreamed of back at Acadia when I took that risk to do something crazy and change my path.
My life is on the verge of another great change and it’s scary looking into the unknown but I know that to grow as a person and for great things to happen, we sometimes have to blindly run uphill with the sun in our eyes.