Just for the Hell of It
Yesterday felt like most of life was settled with a designated time to get up, a place to go, things to do, preparations to be made. Today, that’s all gone. There’s nowhere to go, nothing to do thus nothing to prepare. Nothing sets a regimented athletic schedule on its @$$ like a globe-trotting virus such as COVID-19. The sporting world has virtually stopped, games cancelled, tournaments over with no winner, seasons postponed indefinitely and even global athletic events like the Olympics are in a holding pattern.
And while from a safety aspect, to protect the nearly 8 billion people that inhabit this planet, that makes logical sense. But to the team or individual athlete, the effect can be devastating. Imagine a senior in his last year of eligibility with no tournament to play in. Imagine a team in winning form with no season to finish and no trophy to lift. Imagine a player planning to retire after the Olympics only to learn the games will be postponed and now she must make a choice to stay or go. Imagine a student hoping for an athletic scholarship to college with no means to showcase their ability, putting their future education in jeopardy.
No, the disruption will not last forever… this too shall pass as they say but that does not mean this is an enjoyable time for athletes. Our brains can tell us all kinds of things that are logical about safety and patience and perseverance, but feelings… a required part of the human condition… are not necessarily a logical phenomenon. So, we experience a whole host of things from fear, to disappointment, to anxiety, to anger. Maybe even joy or relief. And then we judge those feelings as illogical or silly because… safety, patience, perseverance… but we still feel it. And it’s NORMAL. And justified. Do not let anyone, including yourself, tell you it’s not. You are justified to feel whatever you are feeling about your current situation with regards to your sports career. Because you are human and humans feel.
However, one thing you might not be feeling, is motivated. Often athletes look to the next game, the next event, the next tournament as a source of motivation for the strenuous routine they follow. Without it, it can feel like
“What’s the point?”
“Why bother training when the season is over/postponed/etc?”
“Who knows when things will start up again?”
Let me say, there is a point… but it’s not a physical one… more of a heart and soul one. As athletes, chances are we got into our sport because we love it. Because in one way or another it provides happiness to our lives even when there is no competition or event to prepare for. We do it because we love it, competing is just a bonus.
Now is the time to remember this. Now is the time to tap back into the child-like joy we all have with our sport but perhaps lost touch with through the rigours of increasing performance level and skill. Now is the time to play, just for the hell of it… to train just for the hell of it… to practice just for the hell of it. Play, train and practice like there’s nothing on the line… because there isn’t. Now it’s just for fun.