MY OLYMPIC HAT TRICK
By: Lauren Anderson
We are deep in the throes of the Winter Olympics, and I can’t help but be inspired by athlete after athlete putting their years of effort to the ultimate test on a stage set for the whole world to see.
I can’t fathom the pressure. The physical prep aside, the mental preparation that goes into competition like that must be astounding. Can you imagine? I mean, they are participating in the one thing that will probably be in the first sentence of their obituary someday.
I know that sounds morbid, but think about it! You know I’m right.
That is like, real make or break stuff.
And I stand in awe. Well, let’s be honest… I sit in awe. In front of my T.V. Okay, let’s be super honest. I don’t have a television, so I’m usually watching on my computer.
But if I’m being like, honest honest honest? I’m not above admitting I’ve watched the Olympics on my phone from the bathroom.
What keeps my mind racing beyond the typical thrill of competition alone, is the effort and work they had to put into just being invited to the Olympics in the first place. Let alone the actual event.
Some of them train since childhood. Countless hours. Being away from friends and family and any kind of typical experience. Not to mention an almost monomaniacal focus ON JUST ONE THING. I think it’s enough to make a personality like mine cease up from that potentially limiting atmosphere.
I don’t think any of you would be surprised that I prescribe to a pretty official “Everything in Moderation, Except Moderation” philosophy. Even in my own fitness journey, I’ve been very deliberate about not trying to take on too much, too soon. Because I know, for me, that leads to failure.
I really believe all work and no play DOES make Jack a dull boy. So, I guess it’s good that I’m in the entertainment industry.
Which is not to say that I can’t be extraordinarily focused in my own career pursuits, but it also means I like, and strive for balance. I’m lucky though. My industry encourages seeking outside influence to inform my work. Cause making someone laugh and acting is all about relating to the human experience. Not sure the same could be said for the Luge.
My point is, these athletes are elite. They are special. They are OLYMPIANS.
A hard-earned title that really means something to me. Regardless of the outcome, getting there is enough for the those athletes to win my admiration.
Okay, that’s great Anderson. We’re glad you think that. But why are you writing about it now?
Ah, yes. Why am I writing about it now?
(Seriously! My lunch break is only so long!)
Well, I was thinking specifically about hockey in the Olympics, and I was thinking about if I’ve ever seen a Hat Trick in real life. I haven’t. But it would be really cool to see someday.
For those of you unfamiliar, a Hat Trick in hockey is if one player makes three separate goals in one game. It’s pretty impressive, especially when you consider hockey is a usually low-scoring game.
But could you imagine how EXTRA it would be if the Hat Trick happened by an underdog team on an international stage like the freaking OLYMPICS?! It would be a wild, history making moment.
A Little Backstory Quick!
For those of you following along, you know I’ve been slowly recovering these many months from a tiny stupid injury (not gym-related) in my wrist. Tendinitis to be specific.
It’s been a weird and slow process, but what I never considered was the enormous amount of mental rehab that would go along with the physical healing. I’ve been all over the place. Feeling really sorry for myself. Angry about the stupid-ness of such a tiny injury that LITERALLY effects everything.
But what I never really officially reflected on was the small and ever-present fear that kept creeping up and tapping me at the shoulder. Fear that all the hard work I’ve put in over the last year or so would disappear. And I’d have nothing to show for it.
Something I can imagine the Olympians are thinking about too right now.
But on a MUCH LARGER scale.
The fear was mixed with sadness. Which was also mixed with a “See! This is why we can’t have nice things!” kinda feeling. For the first time in my life, I had worked really really hard to accomplish something new with my body. And here I thought that this tiny injury would be the crack in the new foundation and it would all come crumbling down.
So Cut To The Gym Last Weekend.
Coach Kaitlin shows us what we’re supposed to do on then bench. It’s been a really long time since I’ve benched something significant. About a year ago, when I was really building up my bench with Coach Jenn, I got up to 90 pounds at my max heavy.
A number that took a lot of time and concerted effort to get to.
Then by injury and doctor’s orders, I couldn’t lift anything over 15 pounds for months. I could feel that sexy hard muscle in my shoulders and chest diminishing. It was a feeling I haven’t talked about a lot here, but one that I sorely missed when it started to leave me.
Because that feeling was so positive for me. When those muscles showed up, it was proof of my hard work. And I was really surprised how much I liked how it felt and looked. It was the first time in about a decade that I could touch a part of my body previously overlooked, and feel… I don’t know… excited?
Is this getting weird?
Anyways, I thought all was lost. Until I got back on the bench.
Buddied up with my partner Maureen, I decide to try and do what she can lift. Cause I knew my numbers that I had recorded would no longer be applicable. It didn’t take long for Maureen and Coach Kaitlin to encourage me to lift more. The bench was surprisingly easy…
Emboldened, we added more weight. Before I knew it, my 90% one rep max was up to 85 pounds!
I dared not go any further, because I didn’t want to mess anything up. But that means if I tried for a real 100 percent one rep max, the likelihood that it would exceed my previous personal record of 90 pounds is pretty clear! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!?!
I thought by not being able to work on my bench, and thinking all those muscles went away that all would be lost. But it turns out it wasn’t. They were just being dormant and sneaky. The muscles didn’t leave!
I was beaming, and Coach Kaitlin came over. I shared my good news. Coach said, “Sometimes an injury can be a blessing. Sometimes a little set back makes you rest, regroup, so you can eventually go even farther.” BOOM. Wisdom in the gym.
And Coach is right. Time has passed. Even though some stuff isn’t the way it used to be, the important thing to remember is that I haven’t given up. I kept going. Doing what I could, when I could. And the bench showed me that I still got it. And then some.
Also, I feel it’s my duty to brag on Maureen’s behalf, cause she’s too cool to do it for herself. But she reached a personal PR that day on the bench too! SCORE one for America!
And Then Comes The Hat Trick
I was flying high, and when I got to the Met Con I was a little more excited to do it than normal.
Perhaps the excitement was just what I needed to propel me off the ground, but I got two jumps up on the box. Something I haven’t been able to do in months and months. Usually I opt for the step up instead. But not today.
And before I could let that all sink in BLAM!!!
As if by magic– I got my first DOUBLE UNDER on the jump rope.
I don’t know how it happened, and I only managed to do it once, but I DID IT.
And now I know it can be done.
I don’t know if you’re counting, but that’s officially 3 GOALS MADE BY ONE PERSON IN ONE “GAME”. HAT TRICK BABY!!! Any one of those accomplishments alone would’ve been enough for me to float through the rest of my week. But all three together?
SOMEONE GET THAT GIRL A GOLD MEDAL.
Was it an Olympic feat? Oh no. Of course not. But boy oh boy it sure felt like one. And that’s gotta count for something right? Besides, I really needed a “win” ya’know?
Maybe it’s not the line I want as the first thing in my obituary, but I wouldn’t mind if my obit read, “When it mattered, she gave it her all and tried her best.”
And as I continue to watch in awe as these elite athletes show their best to the world, I relish the feeling of a tiny ping of understanding.
I am no Olympian, but I think we might just have a little more in common than I thought.