Off topic: just do

Story by Kelsey Randolph, Sports Editor

I woke up Wednesday with an email from my father who is traveling in London, England for work. The subject line read “OT: Swim faster.”

He wrote to me and various coworkers and friends. It was a forwarded email he received from his executive officer (his second in command) in the Army National Guard that read a similar subject line.

His executive officer told him the story of her afternoon swim with a friend; she said she had been slower than normal and her friend looked her square in the face and simply said, “Well, swim faster.”

My dad continued to explain in his part of the email that sometimes the simplest answer is the best answer – we don’t need to train harder or do something different, we just simply need to do.

Student athletes are faced with the tasks of everyday life just like everyone else; the only difference is they have an added athletic task much like those who have the added task of a job or other responsibilities.

Football Coach and Hall of Famer Marv Levy once said, “Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.”

This applies to everyone.

I see athletes fall and twist ankles, jam fingers and talk about their sore muscles while they take ice baths to soothe the pain.

I see writers have good days and bad days.

I have days where I don’t think I’ll finish everything on my long to-do list that exceeds the length of my planner.

Sometimes the simple answer isn’t to figure out the best route home or worry about what we could’ve done to prevent injury but to just simply, do.

My take away from this is that we should heal ourselves, just drive and put pen to paper and get work done.

I think my generation feels like we have to live up to some legacy or prove something to everyone, but I think we are too worried about the future that we don’t get to concerning ourselves with what’s in front of us.

Athletes don’t have a choice about the future of the game; they must take hurdles as they approach or make the immediate decision to pass the ball or take the chance to score points.

Something else I also woke up to Wednesday morning as I was scrolling through Facebook was a blog by Jessica Joffeldt, a Wilfrid Laurier University student, titled “7 Valuable Life Lessons You Learn From Being A Dancer.”

As I have said in previous columns, I danced for more than half my life and I did just about every type of dance you can think of; tap, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, pom, lyrical, pointe and ballet. I never stopped to think many of my personal qualities came from my experiences dancing.

In the blog Joffeldt writes a letter to her dance teachers and said, “You have instilled values in me that will stay with me forever and have helped make me who I am today. You taught me the importance of hard work and dedication. You taught me how to be truly and completely dedicated to something.”

In the words of our Opinion Editor, “I have a lot of feelings.”

Being a dancer taught me a lot and it was more than just being a dancer. It was being an athlete. When on stage I didn’t have time to worry about what was happening when I left the stage, but I had to worry about that eight-count and I had to just do it, without a second guess.

I have heard the words “I had to push my limits,” “I just persevered through it,” “I am thankful,” and “If it wasn’t for my teammates,” in more than one interview with athletes.

I usually end my columns with a challenge for those who read my column. My challenge to everyone now is to just do. Don’t second guess your choices, don’t worry about what’s coming a year from now or make lists so long you have to tape papers together. Just get to it and do it.

1 Comment on "Off topic: just do"

  1. K. Brown | May 4, 2015 at 8:05 am |

    This is an excellent reflective piece of writing. I am a high school English teacher and used your column to demonstrate how one can use narrative elements in non-fiction writing.

    My students enjoyed your column, thank you for your candor and inspiration.

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