Athlete as Artist

IMG_2976If you are an athlete, as you enter the arena , any arena, you might consider this. You might see yourself as an artist as well as an athlete and ask, ” what am I creating?” Don’t think too hard about it to start with – just ask and then notice. What story are you telling through the way you move, the way you compete, the way you respond to the ebb and flow of the contest? Does it come from within or is it crafted to please someone else, to match their idea of what it should look like? Is it informed by grace, by a certain quality of character, by an authentic sense of movement and play, or by something bigger.

The scoreboard is a part of the arena. The clock and the numbers are a part of it as much as the lines or nets or balls. But, as my son in law, a former golf pro,  told me after a round of golf, ” A score is just a number. A score is not a story.” It’s the story we will tell after the competition that matters. Let it be yours and let it be one you want to tell and remember. jamie+anderson+slopestyle

Learning to Wait

DSCF1928I’ve been thinking about waiting during this season of Advent. There is a beautiful rhythm to the seasons; times of growth and action, times of dormancy and preparation. Their nature is cyclical and spiraling not linear. Very few straight lines. Everything unfolding in its own time.

So it is for the athlete as well. We train and practice, we do the work and we wait. We wait for the change, the growth , the adaptation that we’re seeking, the body’s response. We wait for our time, the moment, our opportunity to contribute.  And, it doesn’t come  – not all at once or right away  – until it does. Then we step on the track and our time drops. We make the catch or the throw or the move. What we need, what we’ve been working on is miraculously there.

Athletics, like a spiritual practice, teaches us about waiting.  In her book To Dance With God, Gertrude Mueller Nelson writes, “We equate waiting with wasting time …. But waiting is unpractical time, good for nothing but mysteriously necessary to all that is becoming. As in a pregnancy, nothing of value comes into being without a period of quiet incubation: not a healthy baby, not a loving relationship, not a reconciliation, a new understanding, a work of art, never a transformation..”

The athlete learns to wait gracefully, to resist the temptation to force the action, to rush, to press – instead to let the game come to us.

We learn to pay attention, get in position, do the work and then trust the process, so that when the time is right and the waiting is over, we’re ready. We discover that the grace that’s revealed in the beautiful, flowing action of our movements; the generous quality of our character; or the gift of transformation was at work and growing all along in the waiting.  Enjoy the season.