Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number

I turn 30 in just over 9 months time. I honestly cannot believe how fast my 20s went. I remember being a teenager and desperately wanting to turn 20 and put all the “teenage drama” behind me. There were so many ups and downs, much similar to a roller coaster. I just knew that once I moved past the age of 19 and turned 20, everything will change and it certainly did. I felt a brand new confidence on my 20th birthday, where I was competing on tour in Bundaberg, Australia and on my favourite surface – clay. I had just returned from a European clay court tour and I felt like I finally found my way in the sport.

I was browsing LinkedIn for some daily inspiration and I came across this article written by Business Insider. It’s certainly worth the read.

17 Things to Start Doing in Your 20s So You Don’t Live in Regret in Your 40s

I now look back at my 20s and I can confidently say that I have lived by these tips, however I can improve in many areas. I feel as though over the past 4 years or so, I lost the tremendous confidence that I had in my early 20s. There have been multiple factors of course, however the worst part of that was the negative impact it had on my personal life. The saying “everything that goes up, must come down” certainly hit home hard in my case.

After reading this article, I feel as though it could act as a blueprint towards a happier and healthier life for me and I’ll certainly be mindful of these tips over the next decade of my life, irrespective of my age. I hope that it has a similarly impact on you too.

Advertisements

Lessons from my European travels

I remember a time when you relied upon people by either a confirmation over the phone, on face value or via email. Days, weeks and even months would go by but it didn’t matter as you gave someone your word. You were only as good as keeping your word.

I grew up with this understanding and it served me very well when I was a traveling tennis pro, moving from town to town throughout Europe for months on end. I would liaise with a tournament director via email with regard to my travel/accommodation arrangements for the week, and that was my only point of contact on many occasions. I didn’t carry an iPhone as I couldn’t afford one so I had to go without a phone contact most of the time. It amazed me how on every single occasion I was greeted with such genuine hospitality and warmth by complete strangers at either an airport terminal, train station or in their home. It was daunting but you just go with it.

Fast forward to 2018, just over 7 years that I ended my competitive playing career and nothing has changed for me. I have continued to believe in the goodwill you acquire when being able to keep ones word. Just as I emailed a complete stranger and requested travel/accommodation arrangements (often sharing a room with others too) I take similar steps to secure employment and request more information about something of my interest. I keep things simple and clear, often using one line of communication, either email or Instagram for example and I go with it.

There are so many lessons to be learned when you are disconnected and have very little to rely on. Your interaction with a complete stranger becomes your only option and you have to react and respond on your feet. It’s make or break. No second chances. I believe it’s survival skills that are the single most important skills to develop and have confidence with above all others in life.

The Truth About Sport

I was keen to learn more about a woman who came from very humble beginnings to becoming an Olympian figure skater. Three of my biggest inspirations growing up came from watching athletics, gymnastics and figure skating as a child. The men and women were powerful, strong, intense, yet graceful and it was so fascinating to see what their bodies were capable of doing. It was absolutely breathtaking.

I followed my passion of wanting to represent my country at the Olympics, as a professional tennis player. I did not reach that pinnacle but I do find the journey of an athlete that does very intriguing.

What kind of person do you need to be? What are the characteristics that you need to possess? How do you overcome challenges or adversity? Is there ever an element of luck and timing? Can you truly be in control of your destiny?

I decided to watch the trailer for I,Tonya, a film about a US figure skater and the story behind representing her country at the Olympics and creating history in that sport. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. It was all very unfathomable and almost unbelievable. I won’t give anything away for those who have not seen the film, but I decided to not do any research into Tonya Harding and simply let the film speak for itself. The trailer was that impactful. See for yourself.

I,Tonya Trailer

I watched the film and indeed, there were a few themes that strongly resonated with me.

Tonya’s Expectations

In Tonya Harding’s case, figure skating was her entire life, where performing the jumps and perfecting the choreography in the routine meant everything. After all, that’s what figure skating is, right? Her mother worked multiple jobs to pay for Tonya’s lessons and Tonya herself worked part-time alongside her 8 hour training days at the ice rink in order to make end meet. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being that focused on your goals. How else do you think Tonya became the first woman to land a triple axel in competition? A feat that only one other woman has accomplished to date. But something was missing. The judges scores didn’t seem to suffice in Tonya’s eyes. She didn’t understand what was missing from her performances. She didn’t understand what the judges were penalising her for. Tonya did not know what else she needed to do for the scores she expected. Here lies the truth about sport at the highest level…

The Industry’s Expectations

There really isn’t a rule anywhere in the world of sport that says “an athlete that represents our nation must possess the technical ability and results in their sport, in addition to portraying a standardised image that the industry deems acceptable for prime time viewing”. If anyone knows of such a rule, I’d love to see it because as a coach and mentor, I would advise my students and their parents that this is a hard and fast rule of sport at the highest level. After 20 years within the sports industry, I have not come across a rule with that subject matter however something tells me that sport at the highest level is all smoke and mirrors.

If you ask any child what they love about their favourite sport or athlete, they will tell you it is all about what they feel when they watch that performance. It is never about where that athlete came from or who their parents are or how much money the athlete earns.

Alison’s Expectations

My expectation of both men and women that govern sporting bodies and associations across the globe is to understand and realise that the attraction to an athlete for a child is always about how they feel when they watch their performances. It is all about what they see and hear that makes that child want to emulate the athlete that inspires them. That is the ultimate draw card in every sport.

The concepts of branding, image and status are all made for the consumption of adults. Sport at the highest level should never serve the purpose of adult consumption because it’s core market is children. It is about every child who catches a glimpse of a performance by an athlete and subsequently that sparks a desire, a dream, an ambition to become a professional athlete and/or Olympian themselves. It is time that we become driven by empathy, truth and reality because that is what will inspire and empower a generation.

1st Year Anniversary of ‘It’s Game On’

image

Thank you to all my of subscribers through WordPress and email, to those who have read and liked my posts and to those who have shared and commented on my blogs throughout this maiden year of my blog.

I will continue to strive for growth in all that I do and you can expect to hear more from me throughout the coming year.

 

A Place Beyond The Lines

I have had some truly memorable experiences with my teachers, sport coaches, fitness instructors, lecturers etc. I can’t tell you that they have all been exceptional, but I made a mental note of what I learnt from each experience nonetheless.

It is very important for someone, particularly teenagers, to see and experience the good, the bad and the ugly (I’m a big Clint Eastwood fan, hence the reference lol). How will they be able to make decisions in their life? They will have to ask themselves, is someone taking me for a ride? Are they legit? When do I pull the plug? Should I wait it out?

The transition from adolescence to adulthood isn’t about following a set criteria and upon completion, you are granted status as an ‘adult’. It is about learning how to read beyond ‘fine print’, judge character, take risks, challenge yourself, refuse to conform in any way and most importantly, being an individual. This game, truly helped me prepare for this place beyond the lines.

 

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑