Being an Athlete


Kylie Kroes ’18

I feel my heart beating in my skull. The hot sun penetrating through my bronzed skin. My feet pounding on the black cement, sending tiny earthquakes to the space that surrounds me. I feel the sweat meandering down my face in small, cooling rivers, tasting the saltiness on my lips as it runs across. I look up and the hill looks back at me with a stare that challenges me to try and make it all the way. I accelerate, this look only quickening my stride. I can now feel my heartbeat in the farthest reaches of my fingertips, but I keep going. Pain takes over my body, consuming me entirely, swallowing me into its abyss. I can no longer feel anything but my racing heart. In life people don’t want you to succeed, but your want to succeed should always prevail.

Being a serious athlete means being able to tell yourself that you can’t feel the searing hot pain that engulfs you. After a long two minute shift on the ice and having to backcheck, being able to tell yourself that the burn in your legs is just a challenge to see how far you can push your body and how much longer you can endure. “Pain is just a feeling”. These are the thoughts I tell myself fooling my mind into thinking that the pain I felt was just a figment of my imagination. Being an athlete means setting goals for yourself and then achieving those goals only to set new ones.

Being an athlete is seeing all your friends eating a second cookie, but you turning it down because you have an early morning practice the next day. To not eat that greasy pizza after a game for that will only set you back on all the work you have done to get in shape. To dragging yourself out of bed in the morning to go on that early morning run, its reward being more than just watching the sunrise. When you are an athlete, “lazy” can not be in your vocabulary for you will never make it.

As I am nearing the top of the hill, the sun swallows my body. Its heat feeling more powerful than a tsunami.

Fifty feet, then twenty feet then five.

I finally reach the top. The ocean is laid out before me when I look up – a beautiful, endless, canvas. I feel the ocean mist blast into my face forcing me to close my eyes only to reopen them to the same beauty they left. Waves crash up the rocks that surround me. I feel my adrenaline pumping through my veins. My feet planted in the ground like trees, not allowing one more step. I stand in silence for several hours, amazed by the beauty before me. After I watch the sun disappear behind the last ocean wave, I breathe in the salty air, exhale and make my way back down.



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