The Gift of Being an Athlete


By Mariana de Paula, Swimming World College Intern

You wake up early and practice. You grab your backpack and follow the same old schedule, wondering what today will bring. A different practice, a new challenge. You follow it as if there was nothing more important than your development that day.

Every stroke you take, every step you run or breath you hold has one purpose only – to make you better. You over-do it so you will learn from your mistakes, and your mind gets stronger and stronger.

The exhaustion overtakes your body. After a long day you go to bed, and decide to try again tomorrow. Try harder.

This is your life – that’s all, and that’s everything.

You are a silent warrior, looking for the next opportunity to rise.

You have an impact. You just don’t know it.  

The Impact

Business philosopher Jim Rohn once wrote that most people don’t realize how closely they’re being watched by others. Leaders are often the last ones to acknowledge their visibility and roles, rather they encourage others just for the sake of it. For the thirst of success and will to improve as a team.

You might never have thought about how inspiring it is to be part of something bigger than yourself. About how much you affect everyone around you, showing graceful leadership and team spirit in every single thing you do. Well, all the effort is not unseen, I guarantee that.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, to inspire means “to fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something,” and that’s powerful.

Athletes take risks daily. They choose to fight a little more, lose one more time and go through another disappointment in hopes to rise one day. The discipline it takes to be such fighter may be invisible for you, but we all see it.

No one knows how much you are able to believe in yourself until you have given everything, every day, in order to achieve the same goal.

Athletes dare to dream like few are able to. They know trust what they do, and most importantly, why they do it.

The Risk

Risk is primarily associated with reward for a reason. It needs time to pay off, but it will sure do so.

Athletes have a voice; the power to change everyone around them.

So many times I have heard people complaining about the amount of money invested in sports, about how much attention the media gives them, and how they believe sports are a waste of time. Then again, I wonder who their role models might be…definitely not better than mine.

It sure isn’t easy to be an athlete. It takes outstanding time management and balancing skills, not to mention the hard work that is put into it. It is not for everyone, it is not unseen or unrewarded.

Ordinary people are afraid of trying something new. People are afraid of failure. You are made of it.

You do what you do because you have faith.

And faith is not for quitters.