I have a three-shelf piece of furniture that finds it self neatly organized and adorned with most of my athletic ribbons, medals, plaques and trophies. I have been adding to it since middle school. Some basketball trophies and a varsity soccer letter mingle with numerous gymnastics ribbons and a myriad of running medals.
Most of the time I was never excited about getting the ribbon or the medal. Most of the medals represent running and signify a top finish place, but not the top place. I was never first. second, third, fourth, fifteenth, yes. But not first. And nothing was every truly good enough unless it was the best, something I never achieved. There are six first-place ribbons out of, I would guess, thirty. Five pertain to specific gymnastics events in a meet, and one pertains to a 4X400 Meter relay I happened to be on that won the invite.
Looking at all of this stuff, now, I am so proud of it all. I only wish when I received them I had not been so hard on myself for not being better. Top 15 at a cross country invitational that had over sixty runners racing, what is not to be happy about that? I can’t even count on my hands how many times after a gymnastics meet or cross country meet, or track meet I was so disappointed with myself I would tear up and then punish myself with self-initiated extra practices or longer cool-downs. I am not really sure where my extreme high expectations came from, but I really think that I got most of those expectations from myself. Sure my father always claimed he wouldn’t accept anything less than the best, but he also always said you can’t do anything accept try as hard as you can. I taught myself these things. Even now, I do the same thing. Nothing is ever good enough. But it is good enough for everyone else.
I would perceive missing a goal as a complete failure and that everyone else was looking at it as a complete failure as well. No one ever told me I failed. Ever. I only told myself that.
This thinking pertains to college running too. I discredit my collegiate career and write it off almost as if I was never even on–or good enough to be on–a collegiate team. How many high school runners even go on to run in college? How many even can?
I guess I am trying to give myself some credit.