Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So T.O.'s Not Invincible---Good News for the Rest of Us!

Many of you have likely caught the clip of model Joanna Krupa going off on NFL star Terrell Owens for his part in their early elimination from the new ABC show "Superstars." For those who missed it, here's a summary: the pair had to fight to remain on the show, in which celebs paired with athletes compete in a series of athletic events, by running an obstacle course. Said course featured a series of heavy nets slung like hammocks that the players had to climb through just before crossing the finish line. The general strategy, as demonstrated with surprising nimbleness by Warren Sapp, was to roll sideways onto the net like a log so that flailing limbs wouldn't get tangled. Apparently T.O. didn't get that memo---to the dismay of Krupa, his partner, he got caught up in that net like a lobster in a trap, his foot having ensnared itself in the ropes. This cost the duo, who had been projected to win the whole thing, that round, and with Krupa's failure to catch Lisa Leslie on the next round, led to their elimination from the show.

Krupa's angry rant in the aftermath of their loss included such jewels as "Calls himself an athlete," and "What does he get a million dollars for?" I suppose her frustration was justifiable at the time---when your partner is a world-class athlete, of course you expect to do well in an athletic competition. But let's face it; athletic ability aside, these things happen. And such things beg the acknowledgment that there are many definitions of "athlete," just as there are many different skill sets involved in being an athlete. Speed and strength are among them, but so are endurance and agility (and apparently, the ability to problem-solve). Just because Terrell Owens is a superior football player does not mean he'll excel at, say, kayaking.

Likewise, in the athletic sphere of the average human, the gym, just because you don't have the heaviest bench or can't complete the most pull-ups does not mean you can't excel at other things. "Fitness" can be defined---and accomplished---in a lot of ways. So you can't lift heavy weights...have you ever tried bodyweight exercises? Being able to complete a perfect set of single-leg squats or push-ups is an enviable ability, more impressive as far as I'm concerned than putting up stacks of 45s on the bench press. (We get it; you spend a LOT of time on your chest. What else can you do?) So is keeping up with the choreography in kickboxing class, or running 3 miles on the treadmill without stopping, or being able to perform a box jump onto a high bench (which many of you can do; you just haven't tried). The message here? Find the thing that you're good at, and work on getting better at it.

Remember that not having the biggest guns or the least body fat is not the worst thing that can happen. At least you haven't been beat in a race by David Charvet.

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