by Renee Pace
What makes an athlete? I’ve been asking myself that a lot since the entire Lance Armstrong scandal. Just like Armstrong I got up every morning even when I’ve been totally exhausted. I’ve pushed my body to the limits with first the all-night baby nursing marathons and have entered the long stretch of the run with the teen years. It’s been one heck of an uphill jog and I’ve almost tripped a few times but I’m determined to make the finish line for these four kids.
And, like Armstrong I too pop bills – vitamin D, C, cod liver oil, B12 and let’s not forget my essential women’s multi-vitamin. And, Armstrong, like you I’m extremely careful about what I allow into my body- only red wine at night.
And like Armstrong I too sweat when competing. Half the time I don’t sleep when the deadline is two days away and I’ve still got to pound out 5,000 words or finish copy edits on over sixty pages in a novel.
Now, I know Armstrong had a support team that made his life of lies easy to comply with and let me tell you I totally understand. I’d be lost without my BFFs who know exactly how to keep a ‘secret’ and to smile and tell me I look great even when I’m not wearing my usual made for camera-make-up face. They might even give me a peep talk to help me on the path so I get that he surrounded himself with followers. Now, my group isn’t as large as his but my BFFs still know the meaning of loyalty and friendship because…well let’s face, I truly do care about them and not just myself.
Now I know Armstrong is competitive but has he ever juggled one sick child vomiting for hours, one teen going through the ‘I hate everything’ stage while trying to finish a sexy romance? I bet not. I finished the novel which I must confess won an EPPIE award so like Armstrong I’m bragging.
And the similarities continue. Armstrong is trying to remake himself and I get that it’s totally all about branding. I too have had to do that when I moved into a new genre. I had to rebrand my name, my identity on-line and even what I like and don’t like. I have a few words of wisdom for Armstrong but he’s still trying to figure out what his new role will be now that his friends and his business foundation along with his charitable role are distancing themselves faster than rats jumping ship.
So this bring me back to what makes an athlete? Does winning make you an athlete? No. Trying and doing your best even when you’re exhausted, even when you are sick of the sport you’re in because you’re having a bad day – that makes you an athlete. I’m in this for the long haul and while there are many days when it seems it’s only me cheering myself on I’m a firm believer that an athlete is this – determined, caring of others, willing to share the podium, and plays by the rules. So yes, I’m a proud writing athlete.