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Sport in its Simplicity

Thu, Nov  27, 2008 - By Liz Stephen

One foot in front of the other, over and over.  A foot clipped into a pedal that goes in circle after circle.  A day of free throws, the glide of a ski, the volley of a ball, hitting a home run.  The simplicity of sport.  It is the, “how do you become the best” question, answered in it’s simplest terms; you train.  You put one foot in front of the other for hours on end, pedal in a circle until you crest the hill, stand at the plate and hit, stand at the free throw line and shoot.  We repeat a movement over and over until it becomes almost more natural than walking.

(barb jones and I on a run this fall)

This is what we call training.  This is the time when you practice what you want to be good at, or great at, or the best at.  You are not always applauded, and there is no fame or glory in these days, just sweat, determination and work, a lot of work.  It is, in these days, where you must find the love for your sport.  Some live for race day, others love the long, hot days of the summer when guarantees of progress may be hard to come by, but the work you put in is felt.  Whatever it is that you love about your sport, it is found on these days.  Unlike in baseball, where the amount of training days just about equal the amount of game days, as cross country skiers, we train about 320 days of the year to compete in 30 races. 

(Mo racing last season)

I just returned from a five week block of training in the east.  The first two weeks were spent in Lake Placid, NY at the OTC with my team, CXC and Sun Valley, as well as others.  The next 3 weeks were spent at my parents home in East Montpelier, Vermont, as well as some time at my old high school of Burke Mountain Academy.  This time of year it is important for me to be home again, spend some time with my family and generally relax before the season throws itself at me in full force.  I take a few deep breaths and the nerves that tend to creep up as the summer and fall months fade away, recede.

(my brother, Andy, and I)

See you on the snow.

(NZ skiing last summer)


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