Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dedicated to my Dad: "Athletes aren't normal people"

Is what my new triathalon coach Dai Roberts said to me when we met for the first time on Friday (11/2). He was recommending that I go see a sports medicine doctor. who, unlike the orthopedic surgeon I saw about my knee, will understand my absolute compulsion to run.

For me my compulsion started as a little girl studying the religion of "soccer" with my dad. By high school practically every Saturday and Sunday morning I didn't have a team-game I would be up playing pick up soccer with my dad; usually out on the pitch by 6:30. I loved the feeling driving home and seeing almost no one else on the road, just me and my dad. And we were covered in sweat from running our hearts out for the last 2-3 hours.

When I would come home from college breaks (especially when I lived in Oregon with a 3-hour time difference), my mom would make my dad promise not to wake me up to go play soccer because "I would need my sleep". But he would come by at 6am (3am my time) and whisper "Courtney, are you ready, you sure you don't want to go play?" And I would get up and go.

My dad runs through every injury and always has. Growing up, he was always injured or had a black eye, or something else. Every year he would mention something about giving up soccer because it was hard on the body.... In fact, we were told that if it weren't for our bad knees, we wouldn't be here. My dad had played semi-professional soccer. Then the first lottery he ever won was the Vietnam War draft. His birthday was the first number picked. When he reported, he was rejected because of his knees. As he walked into the reject room, a football player looked up and said "what sport do you play?"

Now he still goes out there and gives it all he has got. He can't see peripherally or when someone sneaks up on one side because he has glaucoma (for which the dutiful man would never try marijuana :) and he is virtually blind in one eye. He also can't see depth because that needs two eyes. But he is out there giving it what he has got because he isn't a normal person; he is an athlete!
My Saturday morning Coaches league

Coming home to take care of my mom I played pick up on Tuesdays and Thursdays nights with one group and Saturday mornings with another. People played through all kinds of muggy, hot Virginia summer weather, and this normal/fun activity with these guys gave me a happy place which helped buoy me through the hell I was experiencing inside. Because of their strange athletic compulsion, I could trust that they would be out there trying their hardest despite whatever injury they were working through. These are my people.

Love this shot, note the head in the hands on the right :)

My dad made me into a Crazy Athlete long before I became a runner with high hopes two years ago. Now I have sustained another serious knee injury. This injury really scared me as I have already torn both my ACLs. But I will cross train and get healthy because I am an athlete, a part of this strange group of people with a crazy compulsion to play. Once healthy, I will put my all into working to qualify for the next Olympic Trials. What makes me crazy? Every day when I get up I think of running for as long as I can for as fast as I can. After that I want to ski, jump, climb, play soccer, kayak over waterfalls, and more! And some day I want to have children and get them up before dawn to go play soccer with other crazed athletes from around the world, showing them the beauty and fulfillment of having drenched their shirt with sweat hours before before there are any other cars on the road. I will make a great comeback because am an ATHLETE, eager to be on the pitch, and a little insane. It *runs* in the family. Tee hee, RUNs in the family!

Me, my sister, and my Dad

Family canoe trip when I was 5


My dad in my boat, life jacket, and paddle looking at the leaves  this past month

Me two summers ago going off a waterfall 2.5 months after I started kayaking

Me competing in Missoula a year after starting kayaking; lol, somehow I came in second :)

1 comment:

  1. Me too, I get it. haha and today is study, read, watch, learn, relax and drink tea kind of day. No acidity, plenty of alkalinity and healthful nutrients kind if day. Oh I heard this morning that Chrissy Wellington will start writing Haikus again, such a fun process. let's talk knees and solutions soon. carpe diem