Friday, March 12, 2010

From Chubby Beginnings....

I often think about why I fell in love with sports at an early age. Could it be that my brother hated sports & loved being in Boy Scouts, and I was determined to be different? (not to mention the fact that I LOATHED being in Boy Scouts, but that rant is for another blog) Or was I just a normal kid who liked sports because thats what kids were supposed to like?
Looking back on it as an adult, I think it was because I strived on being challenged. From the 1st day I watched Charles Barkley playing for my beloved Sixers, I was convinced I was going to be like him (minus throwing people through windows). I practiced his moves, even tried to rebound like him. Unfortunately for me, the growth spurt & actual athleticism never came, and weighing 160 lbs at 11 years old certainly didn't get me the Blue Ribbon in the 40-yard Dash on Field Day, nor did it make me the 1st pick in Dodgeball (for obvious reasons). In other words, I must have enjoyed getting my ass kicked and being told that I wasn't good enough. Whether it was not making the Youth Soccer All-Star team (even though I was the fattest, best goalie in the League), or getting cut from my highschool basketball team year after year, I kept coming back for more, knowing it would eventually pay off. Even when I got to college, I had some grand delusion that I was going to make the basketball team, which was an NCAA Division II school, which is no joke. Sure enough, I kept coming back every year, and actually made the roster for my final 2 seasons. Some players would be frustrated sitting on the bench every game, only to get off of their asses during a blowout, but to me it was validation. Ya work relentlessly at something long enough, you'll see a payoff, no matter how small. Those 10 career points I scored are replayed in my mind all the damn time, and it never gets old.
Once I graduated with a Masters in Physical Therapy, I was surely going to do the smart thing. Work really hard, open up a PT clinic, make over 100k a year, and settle down with kids & all the stuff The Monkees talk about in the song "Pleasant Valley Sunday". Nope. I decided that was a perfect time for a whole new career.
5 years later, the relentless work is slowly starting to pay off. Even though I battle self-doubt constantly (which I think is natural for most of us, atleast I hope so), I can thank my experiences with sports to know that you may not be the greatest at whatever it is you do, but keep at it long enough and do things the right way, and everyone else will start to get on board, which is the greatest validation of all.
It sure as hell would've been nice to actually fit into my teams uniforms as a kid though (see the store bought sweatpants in that picture). Yeah well, at least I filled out that jersey like a man-beast!

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