Olympic Sized Dreams
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
My DH and I were watching "The Rookie" on TV the other night - I'm pretty sure we saw it in the theater when it first came out because I recognized the opening scene where 2 nuns are blessing a dry patch of desert in Texas hoping their investment in an oil scheme would pay off. Clearly they were prepared to encourage their highest power to help them achieve their dream!
I liked the movie the first time around and enjoyed it even more the second time - and not just for some of the quaint technology; a scene where a group of young minor league ball players are irritated because the star is tying up the only phone booth in town brought a bit of longing for the days when not everyone had their heads buried in their blackberries! No, the second time around I was swept up in the idea of having a really big dream.
Jimmy Morris, the real life character of the movie, dreamed of becoming a major league pitcher and injury and time seemed to make that impossible while he spent his days coaching baseball and teaching chemistry. His high school athletes challenge him to pursue his own dream after he lights a fire under them to reach higher and dig deeper to make their own futures soar. It's all very surreal in a Disney sorta way but the bottom line is that the story is true and Jimmy Morris went on the majors pitching in 20 games before his age and injuries really did catch up with him.
There is a scene in the movie where Jimmy (played by Dennis Quaid) enters the stadium at Arlington and is swept up with the emotion of it. I, too, was tearing up a bit as I watched and said to my DH, "imagine having a dream that big!"
What does it take to have a dream THAT big?
The world is beginning to be swept up with Olympic fever as chaos and excitement descend on Vancouver (too bad snow hasn't also chosen to descend!). I'm not a big fan of the Olympics for sociopolitical and economic reasons and won't be watching any of the games. But I absolutely admire the athletes and have loved reading about what they've had to do to achieve their big dreams. What does it take to imagine yourself competing for your country at an event like the Olympics? What strength of sinew and bone, brain and psyche, heart and soul? Do they close their eyes at night and see a torch and parade and their country's flag? How many times do they repeat the same boring steps to get to the greatness that is the Olympic worthy athlete? What does it take to have a dream THAT big?
And how do we get a little of it for ourselves? What are we heading for - what are we capable of dreaming about? And can WE, mere mortals that we are, take the steps to have a DREAM THAT BIG?
When the Olympics were in Munich in 1972, I watched the marathon race coverage on TV with a kind of morbid fascination. In my little, ill-formed 12 year old brain, I couldn't process the idea of running 26 miles without dying; I ran the 1500m distance in track and felt my accomplishments there could kill me! I don't think I remember anything about the terrorist attacks first hand but I can still see Frank Shorter in his 70's nylon running shorts coming around that track after running for a few hours and crossing that finish line without passing out. I became fascinated with marathons - watching coverage of yearly Boston Marathons during those same formative years disbelief turned to awe and admiration even though I related best to the souls who crossed the line and collapsed in a heap at some official's feet.
I quit running myself when I got to high school - I had been a middle school track star but self imposed pressure from perfectionism, familial disinterest and a fear of competition kept me from further developing my fast legs. And I never did develop the ability to have a dream.
So - what does it take to have a BIG DREAM? I'm about to find out. I took up running more than 5 years ago and rediscovered my fast legs. I ran my first race since 1974 last year and clocked a pretty decent under 2 hour half-marathon with little effort. I'm now preparing
for Hamilton's 30K Around the Bay in March and, given my training results, plan to complete it in about 2:40. And from there I begin preparing for the big one - the marathon. Haven't decided where or when it'll be but I know what my dream is - to clock a Boston Marathon qualifying time. At my age, that's 42.2 km in less than 4hr 5min 59sec. I'm going to do this - after watching in awe for 38 years, I finally have a really Big Dream.
So - what's it going to take? Well, the physical training is a given. But I also have to believe I am worthy of having this Big Dream. I'm going to write it out as a poster for my vision board in my gym. I'm going to tell people about it. I'm going to log my mileage, review my successes, set small goals and celebrate achieving them. I'm going to dig really deep and, mostly, I'm going to believe I can achieve this really big dream.
Actually, it sounds a lot like what I had to do to lose 85lbs and maintain the loss, doesn't it?