Everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time.
This week was pretty amazing. I’m using the same adjectives over and over to describe my experience. “Awesome”, “cool”, and “amazing” keep finding their way into my writing because in all honesty that is truly how incredible my internship is. On Tuesday, I attended a WISE (Women in Sports & Events) conference at Brooklyn Boulders. I arrived excessively early (being early is kind of a thing for me) and explored Brooklyn Boulders. Okay, it is a seriously stunning place, a massive room full of rock walls. I mean massive… I wished I had brought gym clothes so that I could have given it a go, but unfortunately I was in my business casual attire. If you’re ever in the Boston area, I strongly recommend checking Brooklyn Boulders out.
The panel consisted of Dara Torres, Katie King, Lea Davison (whoop whoop), Katey Stone, and Gevvie Stone. It was my first time meeting Lea, and getting to hear her on the panel first was a fabulous first introduction. She was seated with the most impressive female athletes of which I’ve ever been in the presence. Dara Torres has competed in 5 Olympic Games and won 12 medals in her career. Katie King is the all-time leading scorer in hockey for Team USA in Olympic contests and won the bronze medal in Torino. Katey Stone was the head coach of the Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey team at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, where they took home the silver medal. Gevvie Stone represented the US in the women’s single sculls in the London Olympics and is a 2016 Olympic hopeful. Lea, as you all know, is an Olympic Mountain Bike rider, not to mention the 7 time National Champion. I can’t even describe how utterly inspiring listening to the panel was.
(Katey Stone, Dara Torres, Moderator- Jessica Moran, Lea Davison, Gevvie Stone, Katie King)
Getting to meet all of the athletes after the event was even better than the talk. I kept telling myself in my head to, “Stay cool, act natural, pickup your jaw!” Lea gave me a hug right away, so I looked super cool in front of everyone. In my head, I build up Olympians to be these extraordinary celebrities that are so different than me. They are superhuman, almost a different breed. They love their sport so much that they never have doubts. They never want to skip a workout or even a rep. They never eat junk food. However when I got to talk to Gevvie Stone, she was so much more normal than I expected. She eats ice cream before every race (mint chocolate chip preferably) and has a lot of the same problems I do. One of the most relatable things she said how she often wished she could be in two places at once. The example she gave was missing her friend’s wedding because she had a race. Even though I’m not an Olympic athlete (yet!) I still find myself overwhelmed with athletic commitments. I remember missing high school dances for volleyball tournaments and my friend’s birthday parties for meeting with college coaches. It was nice to know that on rainy days with killer workouts, she also finds herself wanting to quit or take it easy. We connected when we talked about how awesome the feeling is when you don’t quit, and when you push yourself past what you thought your breaking point was.
(Me, Gevvie Stone, and Lea being BFFs)
After the conference, I got to drive back to Vermont with Lea. At first I was really nervous. I was going to have an actual Olympian in my car for over 3 hours. Initially, I was freaking out about the fact that I had two bags of Sour Patch Kids in the front console. I thought to myself before Lea got in, “Great… there’s no way an Olympian is going to approve of a snack like Sour Patch Kids!” Not only did Lea not judge me, but we also finished both bags by the time we were home. #teamwork. I soon found that I had no reason to be nervous, because like Gevvie, Lea was so relatable. The drive went by quickly for me, because Lea never really stopped talking, which is surprising considering how jetlagged she probably was. We talked about so many random things ranging from her love for Beyoncé to old Middlebury traditions. I loved hearing her talk about the Olympics. Every athlete dreams about the Olympics, and I had a lot of questions. Lea painted the picture of the behind the scenes Olympian life like how everything she wore during the Olympics either had to be Nike or Ralph Lauren and how she got to meet Obama. It was nice having a co-pilot on my drive back and getting to know Lea was a lot of fun.
What I learned this week is going to sound super cliché, so prepare your self. You know the saying “everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time”? Well it’s so true. Sometimes I create this mental hierarchical ladder of human existence, ranking myself against the people I consider to be extraordinary (like Olympic athletes). I would think, “there’s no way they could have the same problems as me, actually they probably don’t have any problems at all!” After getting to talk to these Olympians, I remembered that everyone is only human. Isn’t it common sense? However, it’s an idea that only really resonated with me this week. Everyone is fighting their own battle; everyone has their own problems. I want to go forward in my life keeping that idea in mind. Whether it’s my future boss, Beyoncé, or an Olympian… everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time.
I’m learning how to mountain bike this weekend on my brand new Specialized bike! Look back for updates, I promise it’ll be entertaining.