Are you ashamed of who you are?

As mentioned in my previous blog post, I am a kinesiology student.  One of the classes I am currently taking is about how to teach track and field.  In today’s class we had a guest presenter who is a world class athlete for (I dare you not to laugh at this next part) speed walking…  Yeah be honest you started imagining the swaying hips and noodle-like legs and chuckled at the thought didn’t you?  Well as much as I thought that it was an interesting event to compete in, I know that there is a lot of stigma that comes with the image of being a speed walker.  I mean these are the kids who are recluses, geeky-looking and can’t run so they walk instead right?  As much as that image of these athletes (yeah I just called speed walkers athletes) may be accurate, speed walking is a lot harder than you may think.  Try this (you can do it at home if you are embarrassed to try it outdoors), walk fast while emphasizing a straight leg (lock those knees!!) upon heel strike (this ensures that you are not jogging because the technique is a lot different), have your arms bent at 90-100 degree angles and push hard with them (make sure your forearms DO NOT get close to being perpendicular to the ground, that builds upwards momentum), and see how long you can maintain this for.  Feel the shin splints yet?

Anyways, back to the guest speaker.  As I mentioned, he is a world class speed walker.  He is currently the Champion of the most recent North American speed walking competition and is ranked among the top 20 in the world!!  He decided to pick up speed walking in grade 8 even though he knew that it wasn’t to most talked about sport at school and spectators would actually leave when that event started (imagine the decrease in team morale eh?).  But he stuck to his guns and continued on and over time more and more spectators started to stay and watch with interest.  If you still think that this is not impressive then let me give you some of his statistics.  When was the last time you ran 10 km (roughly 6 miles)?  How long did it take you?  Well I can tell you, I consider myself fairly fit, I work out, play sports and run for fun.  The last time I ran 10 km, I finished in around 55 minutes (my best time mind you).  This athlete, his best time for speed walking 10 km is 39 minutes, and his best time for 50 km is 2 hours and 59 minutes!!  Seriously, try (just try) to beat that!!  In high school his most memorable moment was when another kid made fun of him, so he challenged this kid to a race.  Guess who won.  Yeah the speed walker did (and he was never bullied after that!!)

Applying this to my faith is easy.  People may look at me and have negative views on what sort of person that I am based on stereotypes about Christians.  I used to feel embarrassed and not tell people that I am Christian, but recently I have been more confidant with myself.  I love how a lot of my friends and teammates couldn’t care less about what I believe in, even the ones that have different religious views.  I love how one time one of my friends (who I did not know was Christian) asked me if I was going to a big Christian conference.  I asked her how she even knew I was Christian.  She replied that one of our mutual friends told her that I am Christian and I probably go to these sorts of events.  In high school I was constantly challenged by people saying, “If I (whoever is speaking) were to pull up any number of your friends on your phone and call them.  What would they say about you?  Would you just be a nice guy/girl?  Or would they say that you are passionate about your faith?”  I guess now I have an answer to that question.  Just like the speed walker, I need to be passionate about who I am and what I do.  If anyone ever challenges me, I need to just do what I am good at so that I can show them what I am really all about.

I pray that I will always have this drive.  I pray that I will not be ashamed of who I am.  I pray that I can be confidant in myself.

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