I have always loved watching the Olympics. Summer or Winter, I love them both. As a young girl I would be in awe of the sparkly dresses that the ice skaters got to wear, and marvel over the poise of the gymnasts on the balance beam. There is a certain respect for these athletes that I had even as a child.
Simply for excelling in their chosen sport.
I am not an athlete. I play sport for recreation purposes only. So at best, we can call me athletic. I don’t assume to have much in common with Olympians or professional athletes. Except maybe one thing – the feeling of being renowned. Having your accomplishment celebrated by others and being called an inspiration. That sort of attention can be really overwhelming. The recognition and titles given to me as a result of my natural weight loss isn’t something I went looking for. People say to me all the time “You must feel so proud! What a great thing you did.” “You inspire me”. I constantly get compliments. I understand how these famous athletes can become full of themselves and arrogant. If you are not careful you could lose yourself in all the praise.
Anyone can be conceited. Pro athletes are celebrated so much. Just because someone is impressive in a specific field doesn’t make them a perfect human being. They reached a goal. Whatever that might be. Winning at something shouldn’t automatically make you worthy of respect. In my opinion, what makes you worthy of respect and admiration is how you handle yourself after winning. For as many humble athletes out there, there are also the arrogant, entitled ones. And I have little respect for athletes like that. In fact, I have little respect for ANYONE like that. In all fairness, I don’t imagine most pro athletes go looking to be celebrated as an all around stand up person and role model. They had a passion and skill set and they trained for a goal. The winners met that goal. It’s our perception and expectations that work their way onto these people. I do also get the argument that anyone in the lime light should hold themselves to a higher moral standard as others are watching their every move. The wise ones realize that their actions outside of their sport matter as well.
Losing weight doesn’t make me a good person. It doesn’t mean I have decent morals. It doesn’t mean I am worthy of respect. It just means that I lost weight. The struggle has switched from trying to lose weight to trying to stay grounded. My attempts to down play people’s enthusiasm and praise for what I have accomplished is more often than not met with “Oh no, you deserve it! Shout it from the roof tops, be proud!” I appreciate the compliments more than I can tell you. But just as I had to fight like hell to not allow the negative things that people used to say about me, define who I am, I also do not want to be defined as anything overly great. I still make mistakes and get things wrong. I still need a kick in the ass now and then. Please let me stay humble.