Monday, September 22, 2008

Team Sport or Individual?

Monday, September 22, 2008

The need for acceptance is one of life's great motivators, and as such, I believe the idea of being part of a team appeals to many of us. I am, in many ways, an individualist, thriving in situations where I can function alone, unhampered by others' preconceived notions of how things should be done. I do not rigidly adhere to my own ideas when I am offered another, better solution to a problem, but I have found that others do, at least until they have wasted too much of my precious time trying to convince them of the better way. This rigidity and willingness to waste time arguing an invalid point is what sends me off on my own. I often find myself painfully disappointed by others' inability and unwillingness to think outside the proverbial "box," their ineptitude, their lack of dedication, their downright laziness. At the risk of sounding conceited, I seldom find myself inspired enough by people to want to be a part of their team.

Alone, however, we have a tendency to stagnate. One of the beautiful aspects of being part of a team is being elevated to the level of the better players (assuming one chooses his or her team wisely). Of course, our "teams" can be any number of peer groups--an actual team, the people with whom you work, a workout group, or a book or photography club. The key is to surround yourself with people who have the same drive, determination, and skill level you have--or even more if you can. Being around others this way will spark creativity and discussions that will lead to exchanges of information. The teammates who are more skilled will inspire and instruct while those with skills not quite as good as you will prompt you to understand your skills better in order to teach and elevate them. The intellectual interchange with people of similar interest can be amazingly stimulating. And not to be overlooked, is the value of a sense of belonging.

This last year I quite often have found myself missing this stimulation. At first, I didn't understand exactly what was wrong, why I felt so much like I was floating aimlessly. Then I went to California for a photography class. While I was there, I was a part of this amazing group of photographers who made me understand how painfully elementary my skills are. I was so outclassed as to be embarrassed that I was there. As I said many times that week, I am not accustomed to being the remedial student, but eventually I realized there was nothing I could do about it except spend as much time with the others as I could, learn from them and get better. The experience was amazing, exhilarating, and enlightening. Thinking about it in retrospect, I began to understand that being a part of a stimulating group like this one was what was missing. Though the hubby provides a great deal of intellectual stimulation, he has little interest in some of my favorite things and therefore cannot provide the type of feedback and exchange that I miss. Though I have amazing and wonderful friends here, they, too, have different interests and haven't exactly been able to provide that feedback I seek. (This is slowly changing, however, as some of my friends pick up kettlebells and enjoy them.) Most of my life, I have been a part of groups of some sort or another, often in a leadership capacity, but always as a part of some sort of intellectual interchange. The last time I clearly had that type of comradery was over 5 years ago now, in residency. Fortunately, though, the internet has snuck up on me and provides some of that stimulation that I miss. Reading forums and blogs have begun to fill that gap. Where they fall short is in the lack of real-time interaction. I miss sitting down and hashing out a problem by brainstorming with others who stimulate me, bouncing ideas around until hours have passed without our even noticing, discussing the details and the possibilities, with open minds and lots of fervor.

Today, David sent me a new program; we'll be working on getting ready for the RKC. When I got this, I realized that we are 3 weeks away from it. Already, I've been in contact with Sandy who is also going, and I have a lot of hope for a great long weekend. I have a lot of hope for being a part of a team again.

Here are a few of the pics from that weekend in January...

TODAY'S WORKOUT: Still on the original program. Will switch tomorrow.

6 sets of...
Double 12kg squat 30sec
Double 12kg C&P 30 sec

3 12kg snatch ladders 10/10, 15/15, 20/20. I didn't quite blast through this like I did last time, but it felt okay. I've noticed a little less wind here lately, feeling like my breathing pattern isn't quite right, like I can't get a good deep breath at times. I often feel it when I drink too much water, and it doesn't seem to be associated with palpitations which have to be a consideration in light of the Wolff-Parkinson-White. I think it's mostly my pattern being off. Will keep an eye on it.


  1. What an an outstanding analysis on the "pros" and "cons" of individual versus group activities.

    Funny is that I was thinking about my classes yesterday and how there is social pressure to perform and not slack off.

    Most of us seem to let ourselves get away with murder when we are alone LOL !

  2. 3 weeks away! I am very excited for you.