I'm addicted to this.
I can't stop thinking about this feeling I get when I'm thinking about this sport.
In a world where there is so much negative...where wars and budget deficits and terrorism and yellow alerts and poverty and hurricanes haunt the six o'clock news every day...this bizarre addiction gives me a little high and lets me be in control of my own world even if it's just in my head.
In a world where sports are king--and by sports, we mean money, we mean the "clear" and the "cream," we mean indictments and disappointments and screaming parents at referees and bitter players...where children don't even want to play anymore because it's not fun anymore...this sport restores my faith in athletics and in my very definition of sport.
In a world where your body is all that matters--where Miss Universe was just yesterday judged by her swimsuit, where I see young girls tanning themselves literally to death, where I think of how much, at age 10, I used to hate the way I looked and how my shoulders were "too big" from swimming--I see strong, beautiful, muscular, confident women triathletes, and I breathe a sigh of relief as I look in the mirror at my freckled-face, bike shorts-tan-line, and swimmer's shoulders.
In this selfish world--where it seems as if everyone is out for themselves, where whomever has the best toys wins, where your bank account is seen as a reflection of your worth--I see so many people giving their time and efforts to better themselves.
People stepping outside of their comfort zone, and jumping into the open water of life. Murky, choppy, and uncharted....and coming out of the water smiling to take on the next endeavor.
Because I love to compete, but more against myself--because I love to watch my friends succeed--because nothing gives me more joy or makes me smile like hearing about a successful race--I am an addict.
I'm an addict because it makes me step outside of my little world--because it scares me and because I don't know if I can do it at times. Because nothing is quite like the sting in your eyes from sweat and sunscreen as you cross the finish line of an event. And even when I fall, when I fail, and when I don't reach a goal, I know that the salty tears of frustration that might roll down my face will lead me to another victory on another day with salty tears of joy and disbelief.
Because there was a time in my life when I was an addict for other things--for insecurity, for self-doubt, for partying to cover up these things--I embrace this addiction wholeheartedly.
I am addicted because this sport has given to me so much...because I am a better person, a better friend, and will someday be a better mother because I have grown from it.
In this uncontrollable and unpredictable world, this addiction gives me a small amount of control in my destiny--of who I am, of where I've been, and of where I'm heading.
And I don't think I can ever give that up.