I was at the gym this morning and during the work out I got thinking about the difference sport has made to my life and the life lessons it has taught me. I was doing a crossfit workout that included a max weight 'power snatch'. The key to this lift is co-ordination - if muscles can work together at the same time (or at the right time) you can lift more. So it becomes a matter of technique as much as strength. So, for olympic lifting the lesson is the best results come when the different parts (of the body) work together.
For crossfit itself, the skill taught is forcing myself to finish. The typical crossfit workout is short and intense. The workout is done in rounds and quite often by the time I am half way through I have the almost overwhelming urge to stop. But because it is timed and a bit competitive there is a determination to see it to the end. For gymnastics it is all about removing fear. When I am about to throw myself through the air, fear could literally be crippling. And for breakdance, if I go into a move in a half-hearted way, I know I have no chance of doing it.
During the Festival last year I went along to a breakin' convention and was hugely impressed by the sort of role models that the dancers/performers offered to the many young men and women in the audience. They showed passion and determination, and spoke of the rewards of commitment, and a lifestyle that wasn't based around getting drunk.
I had very little interest in sport when I was younger, which is something I do, to some extent, regret and a big part of that is the realisation that there were crucial life lessons I could have learnt a little earlier. That is why I believe we should all take part in more sport - whether we are young or old. It is not just a question of health, but also of attitude and life skills. And for that reason it is great to see the commitment to school sport in the new Curriculum for Excellence.
And in case you were wondering, I managed a new personal best with my power snatch - 99lbs!