March 31, 2006

The whole game

I wanted to share something interesting with you, Dear Reader. Well, it's interesting to me, so I hope you find it so.

Some of you may remember that some of my coworkers and I play in a spring basketball league. The league is comprised of current and former employees from my company. This is the 4th year we've been doing it, and this is they year I've enjoyed the most.

We've played two games so far and lost each time. That's not the interesting part...this is. In those two games, I've played all but maybe 3 or 4 minutes. And when I say I'm 'playing' the whole game, that's exactly what I mean. I'm not hanging around under the basket or out on the wing. I'm moving on the court. It's 30 to 45 minutes of sustained physical activity. Sure, I get tired as a mo' fo' out there, but I recover more quickly and continue playing. And best of all? Afterwards, no barfing. :-) Now at first glance, that may not seem like a big deal...however, it's huge when I think back to my last three seasons. And if this reads like I'm bragging...well, it's because I am.

Imagine being the fat guy who's worn out after the first 5 minutes. Imagine being scared that only three players will show up and you'll have to play the entire game. Imagine being relieved that you have to forfeit. That was me. Sometimes it's still me. But last night changed all of that...maybe not completely, but it put a huge hole in the center of those feelings.

I don't know if you can comprehend the enormity of this for me. I don't know if I can accurately describe to you how it feels. I just can't find the words to tell you what it feels like inside when I realize what losing weight and working out has given me. It's a feeling of accomplishment, a feeling of success, and it gives me what I lack most of all...the internal motivation to continue.

I've always been one of those guys that needs external motiviation to accomplish a goal or task. I do it because someone else will be proud of me for doing it or I do it for them. Many times, though, even that doesn't work. I get frustrated or discouraged or both and then quit. As I heard someone say one time, "That boy's got a lot of quit in him". It's true and there's no denying it. The pattern's been repeated countless times in my life. But something so simple as playing an entire 30 minute basketball game goes a long way towards changing all of this.

I'm actually looking forward to our next game, to the next time I can ride my bike, to the next time I go to lift weights or to spin class. Side note: I actually asked the spin instructor to put me through a hill-climbing class this past Tuesday and she did. I loved it. I sweated my chunky little ass off, but enjoyed every minute of it. I am looking forward to physical exertion. Me? Shit, I'd have bet you a million dollars that I'd never utter those words.

The trick is to figure out how to bottle this motivation juice so I can take a swig when I get down. And that's going to happen. No, I'm not being a defeatist, I'm being a realist. I know me and I know I'm going to get down on myself. The trick, folks, is learning to work through that and to kick my own ass back into gear. That will be the hardest part. Of that much I'm sure.


Just to letcha know I still stop by, and I found this particular post quite motivating. You summed it up with, "I sweated my chunky little ass off, but enjoyed every minute of it." Can I tell you how infuriating it is to watch my roommate use our elliptical for 50 minutes and NOT. SWEAT. A. DROP.

Posted at April 4, 2006 06:49 PM