What's Your Idea Of An Athlete?

I didn't want to, but let's talk about Bruce Jenner. Just for a moment...

I've been strangely fascinated with his journey over the last year because he was a hero of mine growing up. I honestly didn't realize he had a second life as a reality television star. I've only known him as an Olympian on the Wheaties box. Last week, I watched as he admitted to the world that behind that gold medal and smile was someone who was struggling with who he was. 

I applaud him for finally being comfortable enough to admit to himself and the world nearly four decades after winning the gold medal in the decathlon that he knows who he is: a woman. My admiration for him hasn't changed.

I can't imagine the struggles he went through. My idea of an athlete when I was a kid was someone very macho and rugged. Little did we know that Jenner knew he was furthest thing from that concept. The point I'm trying to make is that he's still an accomplished athlete despite the feelings he was reconciling with then and the person he is now.

On a smaller and slightly different scale, I struggle with the concept of athleticism. I've run four marathons, pedal my bike long distances, go to the gym as much as I can, and I am 50 pounds overweight. I don't eat beans and rice everyday. I think vegetables taste better with butter than than they do raw. I'd rather drink diet soda than water. Yet some people consider me to be an athlete, despite how I appear on the outside. I've helped to train athletes of all shapes and sizes who want to become better versions of themselves, even if it's simply working toward crossing the finish line of that first 5K race.

We have to remind ourselves daily that it's not how we look on the outside that counts. Our actions define who we are and we have to work to be stronger despite what we are struggling with. Jenner struggled with his gender and I struggle not to eat another donut. Yet we're still athletes and we have the medals to prove it.