Google’s definition of what an athlete is says so much, don’t you think?
Proficient and skilled are a matter of opinion, but the Latin/Greek roots are pretty clear and the definition I’d been working with since I was on the tennis and gymnastic teams in high school (and briefly swimming and track, but those are stories for another day.)
A race is a competition, and I enter races all the time, but I don’t expect to win any prize other than an obligatory “yay, you finished!” medal and brunch afterwards. Maybe one day I’ll get an AG prize in a small race, but I’m not holding my breath.
Lately, I’ve been hearing the message, “if you move, you’re an athlete” or hearing recreational runners like myself calling themselves athletes. Maybe it’s part of the old me I haven’t let go yet, but I didn’t consider myself an athlete.
But last week, I went to the Under Armour I Will What I Want launch.
I saw that epic Misty Copeland ad you may have seen once or twice by now, and we heard the CEO, Kevin Plank, talk. He wants to change the way women think of themselves as athletes â€” if you go to Pilates, if you do ballet, if you do yoga, if you do triathlons, you’re an athlete. (He also, obviously, wants to sell clothes, but I still like the emphasis he’s taking on women’s athleticism.)
Sitting in a big room full of reporters, with Misty on stage watching her own ad, I got the chills and still do watching it. Lindsey Vonn and Kelly O’Hara are two other badass female athletes part of this I Will What I Want campaign.
They’re not ready to take no for an answer. Lindsey Vonn said she wants to be the best skiier of all time. Misty Copeland said she wanted to be the first African-American lead of a ballet. I don’t believe these women are taking no for an answer, and I think we recreational athletes can do the same.
I won’t lie that that slogan crossed my mind a few times during the tri. IÂ wanted to finish, andÂ I will, I told myself.
What do you want that youÂ will make happen? What do you consider the definition of athlete? Do you consider yourself an athlete?