One night, during my college years, my friends and I “borrowed” a canoe and rowed across a lake by starlight. It was a perfect, warm summer night, made even more perfect by the thrill of an illicitly obtained boat and the soft splashes of our paddles. Our destination was a rope swing on the far side of the lake. Attached to a sturdy tree, the rope dangled over a sharp drop into deep water. One brave soul captured the rope’s end and scrambled up the embankment with its tail. We gathered expectantly at the base of the tree. The first swinger balanced on the tree’s knobby roots, grasping a knot near the end of the rope. Initially, the rope was slack, but once the jumper leapt into space, it snapped taut and swung in a wide arc over the water. With a hoot, he released the line and dropped into the dark lake.
One by one my friends swung into the void, to be rewarded by a cool splash. They returned to do it again. I remained at the base of the tree.
I wasn’t afraid of the drop or the water. I was afraid of that moment when the rope tightened under the load. At that point, still dangling over the shoreline, I didn’t think my arms could support my sudden weight and I’d fall onto the rocks. No amount of coaching or demonstrations or encouragement could persuade me to give it a try. Instead, I enviously watched my athletic friends perform the trick over and over while I cursed my physical weakness.
My college friends were a cheerleader, a water polo player, and two cross country runners. I’d left home thinking I was athletic (I’d once rode my steel-framed Toys R Us bike in a 50 mile race), but they left me in their dust. We ran, we hiked, we played soccer, we climbed rocks, and I was always the straggler. I was a game straggler, though. I may not have swung from the rope, but I always tried to keep up. Together, we explored the Olympic peninsula, the Cascade Mountains, and the country of Ecuador. Along the way, I developed a love of adventure and a determination not to let my body keep me from it.
I have many adventures planned for my life. Most of them are of the non-sedentary variety. I want to spend an entire summer hiking Yosemite. I want to play water polo. I want to dance in another musical. More immediately, I plan to race up Pike’s Peak. I work out because I want to be ready for adventures, planned and not planned (you know, like the zombie apocalypse!) I don’t want to miss out on an opportunity because I’m too weak.
And I would sure like another crack at that rope swing! Kowabunga.
What motivates you to work out?
Sporty Sunday is a recurring feature in which I share my fitness routine and offer and solicit advice. While this content might seem a little out of place in an outfit diary, a healthy, strong body is the foundation of my wardrobe. I hope to inspire my readers to be fit as well as stylish!