The Long Trail of Sports on the Way to Jiu Jitsu

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.  

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