Christiana and Trina jumping, 2009

I’m not a big fan of the current culture of sports. Don’t like the tribalism, the excessive focus on winning at all costs, the big money thrown at competing, or so much acceptance of rude behavior toward others. But I love watching the movements of those who are at the top of their sports and/or have worked really hard to get their bodies to do really difficult tasks and make those tasks look easy.

Although I’m not one to schedule my life around watching sporting events, I’m here to tell you I was enthralled with Peyton Manning’s comeback to football while leading the Denver Broncos to the win this last week. Kinda’ brought tears to my eyes, even though I’ve never really followed professional football closely or paid Manning any attention.

Even though people around the world don’t really care if Trina Lambert’s finished or not as they do with Manning, I understand having to sit on the bench, wondering if I’ll ever get back in the game again.

What I could see was this guy’s yearning—and absolute joy—to be back and to know he was still able to make plays.

I get the hubris that is involved in trying to keep your body doing what it’s always done as if age doesn’t matter—which it does. But on the other hand, sometimes you just want to feel the wind moving through your hair as you reach for the finish or the exhilaration of jumping in the air. The truth is, once we understand the prospect that we might never again feel those joys, some of us are willing to work for comebacks that just return us to doing what we love. Unlike professional athletes, if we have to slow down a little or limit the height of our leaps to keep moving, then we will.

You don’t have to be famous or even good to love to move your body.

So now that I’m jumping again, I’m ready to build my baby steps into running strides. However, my memories from my exile—when moving whenever and however I pleased was not to be—have taught me that wanting is not enough—I have to change my approach if I want to play again. It’s no good working so hard to get better only to go back to running with my same old form.

While focusing on developing a mid-foot strike and applying other techniques from Chi Running, last week I took my first steps around the track on that proverbial 1000-mile journey.

I felt more like a stranger to those lanes than someone who once thought running was as necessary as breathing.

Yet, in those moments when I forgot the 1-2-3 count maintaining my cadence, I sensed the possibility of the freedom to return to doing one more activity that’s helped make me who I am.

That’s all the victory I need for now.

And, no, I don’t know if I’ll be watching Manning play again tonight because, after all, my ZUMBA class meets on Monday. I am back and I am most definitely in black . . . exercise clothes.

Gotta’ run—or is that gotta’ jump?

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