I feel inspired today.
Maybe because I watched this video, which I’ve seen several times before, and have never failed to cry through.
Have you heard of Team Hoyt? Take the time to watch the video if you haven’t. Have a hankie handy, though, I’m warning you.
Dick Hoyt is 70 years old. He’s pushing his son, Rick, who has cerebral palsy, in the Boston Marathon next month.
This is incredible on so many fronts. I mean, Dick Hoyt is 70. You got that part, right? Their website says that in their first 5 mile run, which was a fundraiser for friend of Rick’s who was paralyzed, they came in second to last. Dick wasn’t 70 then, of course. He was 36. Since then, he and his son have run in more than 1000 races of all kinds, including several Ironman triathlons.
The Team Hoyt motto is simple. Yes, you can.
That’s it. Just: Yes, you can.
Folks: Team Hoyt is a shining star example of defiant athleticism.
I don’t know a lot, but I know this: I do not owe it to the world to save it from seeing me in a swimsuit. I do not owe it to the world to spare it the sight of my fat ass on a bicycle. And neither do you.
You also do not owe the world athleticism. You are under no obligation to be a defiant athlete.
I know that for many people (fat people especially, but I would bet that there are more slender people than we know who have the same experience), every ounce of joy has been sucked out of movement. Maybe even the word athlete is painful on a cerebral level. Maybe choosing not to exercise at all feels like where you’ve taken your stand against brutal middle school dodge ball games, being picked last for kickball and warming the bench at soccer games. Maybe never setting foot in a pair of running shoes is your double flying eagle to all the sociopathic gym teachers in your past.
Here’s what I believe though: if you want to, you can be an athlete. Not 100 pounds from now. Not when you can run a mile. Not when you join a team. You can be an athlete right this minute.
Even if you are not strong enough to walk around your block. Even if you have mobility issues. Even if you weigh 200 pounds or 340 pounds or 400 pounds. Even if you are the half-ton woman. Even, I swear to you, even if you are bed bound.
All you have to do is move with purpose. Whatever you can do, do it. And do it with the knowledge that you are an athlete in training.
You do not have to join a gym, take any classes, ride a bike, roller skate, run or even sweat. Not today.
I can almost promise you that you’ll want to, someday. But you don’t have to, not today.
Today, just feel how your legs work when you sit down and stand up out of your chair. Realize that every time you do that simple, functional act, you’re doing a chair squat.
If you’re able, walk a little. Go to the mail box, to the corner, around the corner, to the grocery store–whatever your capable of, do it today.
Even if you can’t walk, do something that is just a tiny bit past what you thought you could. And while you’re doing it, whatever it is, know you aren’t working out. You aren’t exercising. You’re in training.
Training for what? Maybe a triathlon or a roller derby team. But maybe you’re in training for remaining physically functional into your old age. Possibly, you’re in training for being able to bend enough to tie your own shoes. Or you could be training for the grocery-shop-without-a-scooter Olympics. How about being in training for being able to bake cookies without your back hurting?
I don’t know. But, I do know this: you don’t owe anyone athleticism. But if you choose to take that word back from the sweaty bully who stole it when you were 14, or to own it for the first time when you never thought you were entitled to it, you will feel like a super hero almost immediately.