Ready for Anything
Ready for Anything
August 29, 2020
The Drive To Play
Over the last few years I’ve come to reflect on some of the names and faces that inspired my life in sport and fitness. I’m in my mid-fifties now and in many ways I feel the same as I did when I was in my mid-teens. Not in the way in which I used to be able to lay on the couch and watch hours on end of televised sports. In those terms I’d rather read good sports writing now than watch the game itself. What I’m talking about is the desire to get out there to move and play.
Let me first say that I feel incredibly blessed to have the health and fitness to be physically active. My wonderful father enjoyed sports but left them in his youth to become the ultimate supporter of his children. While supporting my own child I found the drive to play just never left me. And I want to be clear here, it was a drive to PLAY, not a drive to win. Everyone loves to win and I’m no exception but given the choice of winning a short match or losing a much longer one, I’d always opt for spending longer on the field of play. In fact, at the end of the final game of an undefeated championship season, my first reaction was one of sadness that it was all over.
The drive to play was certainly influenced by my dad, a man who always looked for the fun in a situation. So he is at the top of the list of those that inspired me. Each sport I played had it’s hero who I tried to emulate, like most kids. It’s people like Dryden in goal, Gabriel on the field, and Magic on the court.
But the element of my sporting life I value the most is my desire to always define myself as an all-rounder. There were no sports I didn’t love so when I discovered the Superstars competition on TV I was enthralled. It was 1977 and some of the best athletes from Canadian sport were gathered to compete in a range of events, from running and swimming, to bowling and tennis. Hockey star Larry Robinson, football legend Tony Gabriel, race car driver Gilles Villeneuve, they were all there. But the competition was dominated by a funny and modest pro soccer player named Brian Budd. In fact, Budd not only went on to become Canadian Champion three times but World Champion three times as well. So dominant was this man that the originators of the concept, ABC Sports in the US, created a rule that after three crowns you had to retire. They didn’t like that a no-name Canuck had dominated their sport so. If you’re looking for a fun challenge this summer, maybe you should create your own Family Superstars event!
Helping Others Find Their Inner Superstar
This quest for all round athleticism still guides me today, both as an athlete and a coach. I want those that do my online fitness classes to be empowered and able to play in most any way they choose. If their child wants to hit a tennis ball around or if they decide to hike to the top of that hill. Whatever it is, I want them to have the confidence that they are ready for anything.
For me personally it is the challenging combination of decathlon and triathlon. Most consider athletics (track and field) a sport of youth but when I started in masters athletics 12 years ago I looked around and realized my track journey is just beginning. I saw athletes 40 years older than me running, jumping and throwing and was so excited to see that play never had to end! But to make that happen, I had to continue to adjust and learn how to prepare my body for these activities. And this is a body that faces changes every year as I age so the methods and workload that worked a couple seasons ago may no longer be the right one. This problem solving journey is one I love and it stands apart from the joy of that finish line.
As a coach I love helping individuals solve their own exercise challenges like how to fit in the time, how to make the most of any workout, and maybe even what new challenges to turn to express their fitness. We’re never too old to play.
Geordie McConnell, Head Coach