I never knew I liked sports until I tried them. With four kids and not a lot of money, I don’t think it crossed my parents’ minds that it might be a part of my destiny.
In middle school, a friend and fellow book worm convinced me to join the field hockey team with her. Even though my knees always hurt and I was dreadfully slow and out of shape, I loved it! I was little more than a bench warmer, but I loved the strategy and feeling like I’d pushed myself to my limits.
In the spring, I tried lacrosse. The next year I did field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse.
We ended up moving from New Jersey to Alaska in my sophomore year, and without field hockey or lacrosse, I switched to soccer and hiking.
I never really excelled at any of the team sports, but I had a lot of heart and worked really hard. Sports helped get me out of my head and helped me escape from some of the frustrations of family life.
In college I played intramural lacrosse, and tried out rock climbing and water polo. I started running and weightlifting. It helped keep my mind off things. It was an outlet. But I was never really great at any of them, but I had a lot of heart and worked really hard.
As an adult, I dabbled in Crossfit. Then I tried swimming, snowboarding, ultimate frisbee, mountain biking, and windsurfing.
In the military I started olympic lifting and powerlifting.
I was never really great at any of them, but I had a lot of heart and worked really hard. I’m not sure what kept me bouncing around from sport to sport. Maybe it was seeking my niche, maybe it was a love of learning. I loved approaching something new and unfamiliar and learning the skills quickly.
In 2015, my ex suggested we start training jiu jitsu and I said yes. I’d always wanted to learn how to fight, and would often try to wrestle people while intoxicated. The things we learn about ourselves when free of inhibitions . . . .
I instantly fell in love with the sport. Every time I stepped on the mat, I came alive. I felt like I was born for the sport. I learned the techniques like everyone else, but my instincts seemed created for rolling. Even when I was getting annihilated, I was in bliss.
I had searched and searched for a sport where I fit, where I excelled. It took almost two decades, but I finally found the spot that I was formed and fashioned for.
We can spend a lot of time searching for who we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to do, but when we find that thing, it just feels right.