Slaying my Dragons


How did I become this impatient with myself?

I’m competing in my second Highland Games this weekend. It’s part of the local Renaissance Faire. When I think about throwing this weekend, I get mental. I’m coping by mostly not thinking about it. I’ve kept myself busy this week. I started a part-time new job, and it looks like I may have another job coming down the pike. (Thank you St. Jude for favors granted.) I’ve also been to the dentist twice this week. There might be no better distraction than to have four hands poking pointy objects around inside your mouth.

But even with all this I still feel a sense of… what? Excitement? Nervousness? Expectation? All this week I haven’t been able to get my thoughts very far away from the fact that I’m going to be throwing heavy stuff this weekend.

It’s going to be fun. I get to hang out with some very cool people, and I get to wear my new kilt. These Highland athletes are just happy that they have infected another newbie with an appreciation for their crazy sport. Nobody’s going to judge me. No worries, right?

I went into my first games with entirely no expectations. I wasn’t even sure that I would post a score for all the events. I just decided to try. And I surprised myself big time when I posted a score in all of the events.

This is where the dragon in my head says, Yeah, beginner’s luck. Heh, heh, let’s see you do it again.

My rational mind knows this: I am new to this. I have been to exactly two formal practices for this sport. And at practices I’ve learned that there are a lot of highly technical skills necessary to be able to perform these motions correctly. Heck, throwing the hammer seems to be a full body workout in itself, and that’s before you start compensating for the rotational forces of spinning a 16 pound weight around your body. I’ll get in better shape as I go along. Just do it, and learn, and have fun. It doesn’t matter how far I throw. At least I am out there trying, facing my insecurities, instead of sitting on the sidelines.

If I were talking to somebody else, of course these are the things I’d be saying to her. At one level I agree, it really doesn’t matter how far I throw. The only problem is that it’s me who’s doing the throwing, and what I hear myself saying is…  Do it again. You can’t scratch any event. You have to do at least as well as you did last time.

I talked about this with Paul, my trainer, and he said, “You’re acting crazy. It’s too early to worry about that shit. You’ve gotta let that go.”

I wonder why I do these things bass-ackwards. When I first started running, I signed up for a half marathon before I had ever run a mile, ever. A sensible plan would have been to walk, then run, then get a few 5Ks and 10Ks under my belt, and then think about a half marathon. But I didn’t do that- I jumped straight into the half. Here I go again. I’ve barely done any weightlifting, and my core conditioning is weak at best. Now I’m spinning a 16 pound weight glued on the end of a PVC pipe around my body and I actually have expectations for how far I think I should throw it. Last time I was terrified of touching a caber, and this time I know I’m going to be disappointed if I can’t turn it. The pressure doesn’t come from anybody else but me.

So maybe it’s fitting that this Highland Games is held at a Ren Faire. I’m not just throwing heavy stuff this weekend, I’m slaying dragons. Only in this case, the dragons are inside my head.

Different sport, same dragons. “Wherever you go, there you are.”

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One comment on “Slaying my Dragons
  1. Pingback: 2012 Highland Games: Santa Fe – Strides on Your Path

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