Recently at my school visits as part of the New Zealand Olympic Ambassador Program I’ve been asked by the kids why I got into sport? It got me thinking as to the why and how the why has changed over the years for me.
I grew up in a sporty family. Mum and Dad led active lives and this filtered down to three energetic kiwi kids. We had a big backyard by todays standards and we would often congregate with other neighbours for games of cricket, touch rugby which later turned into tackle and all sorts of go-home-stay-home kinda play. It filled me and my brothers up and it helped shape a love for sport and exercise in us all.
It is highly likely that because I was used to being active throughout my childhood and I had some handy sporting genes that I then naturally gravitated to more organised sport throughout my school years. I played lots different sports and I loved the rush of competition, the camaraderie and for the most part feeling good about myself.
After I left school I chose sport more intensely as a pathway to pursue my dreams. Through athletics I found a vehicle of self expression, of physical challenge and a way to stretch me mentally. Sport has stretched me emotionally as well. The inevitable highs and lows of life are executed through sport that you deal with extremes of emotion in short spaces of time.
Sport was an opportunity to do cool things as well. To represent your country, to travel, to run fast, to jump high and be round people chasing there own dreams is a privileged position.
Since retiring from competitive track and field my ‘why sport?’ has changed from the single minded goal hyper focused athlete to certainly more holistic. Today I chose sport and exercise for the tremendous benefits it can do to my health. I love feeling healthy and it certainly creates a feeling of happiness within my soul when I am active. It doesn’t have to be for the hours that I used to train for as a Olympic athlete but it just has to be something. It’s my sanity and I hope that for whatever reason you chose exercise its clear for you. Gaining clarity on your why can give you power to get your daily dose in. We simply cannot afford not to chose exercise but we must be self apparent and aware of why it is necessary for you