The Oxford dictionary defines an athlete as “A person who is proficient in sports and other forms of physical exercise” and Wikipedia defines it as “a person who competes in one or more sports that involve physical strength, speed and/or endurance”. I have always wanted to be an athlete, but have never really considered myself a true athlete. Growing up I show-jumped horses, which a lot of people would say isn’t a sport as the horse is doing all the work. If you have ever tried to get a horse around a course of 4 foot jumps you would know how hard it is on your body. However, I never thought of myself as an athlete. Throughout my young adult years I dabbled in short distance triathlon, open water swimming and road biking but I was never competitive, so not an athlete. Last year I came in 4th out of 27 people in the 7km Rundle’s revenge race in Canmore, Alberta, but I didn’t consider myself an athlete because there were only 27 people in my race and most of the people in Rundle’s were running either half or ultra distance, so my 7km’s seems so insignificant. And this year I skied the Panorama skimo race I came in 1st but it was “only the recreational division and there were only 3 people in my race”. So am I an athlete? I struggle so hard with this question. Yes, many people consider me an athlete, but at what point will I be good enough to consider myself an athlete? If one of my friends had accomplished what I’ve accomplished over the past few years I would consider them an athlete, so why do I have a double standard where I expect so much more from myself than from others? I think this phenomenon is very common and we need to be kinder to ourselves. I am working hard to see myself as others see me, but I wonder at what point I’ll truly see myself as an athlete.
At what point do you consider yourself an athlete?