Enjoy the struggle

There is something I know just a little about in this world. Dedication. I have dedicated myself to my chosen sport for so many years. I have never been a full time paid sportsman even though I have had the pleasure and privilege to live off it for a year or so. So not for money, purely for passion. Right now my hockey stick stays propped up against the spare bedroom wall since my knee surgery, but my passion will always at least simmer.

I feel grateful. I can just about walk again. It has only been 6 weeks since my op, not a serious one and I have been through nothing like the guy in my post last week Give and take, but I do not take it for granted. I still need a crutch for anything a bit longer but I will be away with that very soon. I feel my leg getting stronger again now I have started the rehab work.

Sometimes I think I feel a bit dramatic and need to wise up and put my feet firmly on the floor (now that I can :-) ). Last week I sat next to a 78 year-old guy on the plane who also had a walking stick, a proper wood one and not a hospital crutch like mine. He looked to be more or less exactly like I was, needing that cane for the few steps more. During the flight we got talking and we compared notes, he had been like that for 17 years after a serious car crash. So yeah, when I see or hear these things it gives me a kick up the arse and brings me to reality. There's nothing bloody wrong with me. It's just new territory I suppose.

At the same time it inspires you, especially when he said to me with a smile "you'll be right as rain in no time". Fundamentally he is right, I know I will. 6 weeks compared to 17 years just underlined that. So now I find myself dedicating myself in recovery. As amazing as the human body is, It doesn't just happen all on it's own, you have to make it happen. Athletes with the best physiques have worked on it for years. I was a skinny garden rake until I discovered the gym to make me a stronger hockey player. I have never let go since. Even in those lazy periods when a beer or a bottle glass of wine and the sofa seems so much more appealing, I have dragged myself to the gym...well, most days. I am in it for the long haul.

I need that struggle in me. Because basically, well, I weirdly enjoy it.

I don't even know how I enjoy punishing myself on my own. With my team mates knocking out hundreds of shuttle runs until my heart feels like it is about to pound out my chest and/or I want to bork/keel over/cry/yell/curse, I can understand that, many can't, but until you belong to a team and you struggle towards the same goal, it will be difficult to see why we chase that thing called a ball. Boys, Balls and Joga Bonito But in a gym on my own for so many years? I really can't put my finger on what drives me. Maybe it's vanity, maybe it's performance, or a goal to improve, a means to a way of life, or a way to a means, or whateverrrrr. Perhaps just downright stubbornness.

At some point winning becomes more about the journey than the destination. Nothing new that I haven't already said; it goes back to the roots of this blog. Motorways of my mind. Take time away and it is difficult to get back right in to it, my body hurts, but hey that's the never ending journey. I told you I'm in it for the long haul. I have no idea when the destination will be reached.

I have learnt to enjoy the small accomplishments, something I have not always found plain sailing. They just seemed so insignificant, but I have learnt that they are significant for me, and that is what you need to plough ahead with everything you do. Writing here has taught me that. Defeating a defeated mindset is a struggle, an accomplishment, a journey and a win all in one. In my opinion one of the best things you can show a child is how to grow cress. It teaches them how to plant the seeds for the future while living now. To nurture something and to take care of something. A compromise is needed, it grows quicker than all other plants, they can see progress pretty quickly.

I feel like I am not moving fast enough at the moment, and so then I need to take hold of myself and ask if I am moving. If so it doesn't matter how fast, as long as you move. Never diss a completely overweight person in a gym or jogging in a park - that person is moving, slowly but surely in the right direction. I think some people think that struggling means failing. Every great success requires some kind of struggle to get there. So I know that without struggle there is no progress.

Find something that excites you. You may struggle to do it, but it will keep you going, it will feed you, it will drive you when you are not moving as fast as you want. If I know I am going to make something of this life I know I have to stay passionate and motivated. I dedicate myself to this keyboard. Go on, grow some cress if you really want to.

"To succeed in life all you need is a backbone, a wishbone and a funnybone"
- Reba McEntire


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