The Hurdles in my Mind – Faith and Fitness

Daley Thompson was a lucozade swigging all round Black British decathlete with his monster tash and tidy fro, he did a bit of everything but one of his events was the hurdles. This 5/5 fitness drive is exposing some internal hurdles I have to overcome in order to have a chance of ongoing success.

One of the tips with hurdles is that you have have a good run up and don’t loose momentum as you get closer. I find it easy to slow to stasis, the more I can do the more I can do. To aid memory the hurdles all begin with the same letter.

Stature:

I have never been the tallest tree in the people forest, a lack of height led to a lack of confidence when it came to sports and P.E. I was aware of the taller boys and girls and felt inadequate. Although I am a pacifist I love the quote:

‘It’s not the size of the dog in the fight it’s the size of the fight in the dog.’

When I dig deep I can outpace and outlast the bigger guys and gals.

Selflessness:

My mother was selfless whilst she was alive and as a lone parent she did not could not model adequate self care. She would miss meals to ensure I was fed well, and never did she utter the words ‘I’m going for a run.’

Indirectly I learnt if family are with you they come first and you come last if you feature at all. I still feel guilt when I close the door behind me to take a jog, or power walk, and can hear the hubbub of family, yet thankfully my wife doesn’t add to the internal unease I feel, but supports my seeking health.

Self-consciousness:

When I go swimming the walk from the changing room to the pool and back is a time for holding by breath and stomach in check.

I live in an area where the average swimmer is white, slim, and tall. (see previous point on stature). Nonetheless if I keep going  could I broaden the scope of those who feel the pool is for them too?

Stereotypes:

I grew up with a group of stereotypes around black masculinity and physicality. I never felt I matched up to the black sports stars, and apart from a career in entertainment we British black boys weren’t offered many options to aspire to.

My religious upbringing ruled out entertainment, and my two left feet and flabby tum ruled out the other option. Some speak about black male bodies being seen as ‘pet’ or ‘threat.’ I was repeatedly  called cute through my life so I think I occupied the ‘pet’ dimension. Other friends were in the ‘threat’ camp and they suffered in another way to me, there was a limited expectation of braun over brain which was the mould placed around them, and which they began to live into.