I was asked to write a quickie blurb for a composite article over on Strong and Far about how to overcome a common pitfal to success as an athlete. I feel like this applies to so much of my life that I should post it over here as well.
Comparison is the thief of joy, and my cardinal sin as an athlete (and a woman). For years my internal monologue was a series of unflattering contrasts between myself and others on the field. Being so chock full of “advantages” for a thrower – short, heavy, older and untrained – it was a long list! Until, one day a blunt and well-meaning pixie laid it all out for me in the midst of an invitational game (yea, you heard that right, I was at an invite only show and still certain I didn’t have the chops). She pointed at every woman on the field and listed their pedigree of colleges, awards, All-Americans and a couple of Olympic hopefuls like herself and said, “And here you are.”
Talk about a gut check. Just breaking it down to brass tacks for me to get on over my little feels and get back to the business of throwing things. Since then the goal has been to not compare to others, just against myself. Last meets numbers, last year’s bests, personal bests – in the gym, on the track and on the field. Me vs. Me and My Demons.
To that end, I have become a numbers junky. An ever expanding spreadsheet holds the data for every game day throw I have taken since I got into the sport. I keep a running tab on my averages and bests. This is posted on my gym wall, my office wall and in my throws bag. This prevents me from looking across the field at my competitor/companions and playing the “What If” and “If Only” head games, and draws me back to improving the only thing I have control over – me.