November Gratitude Shorts, Day 8
Every day I live in awe of the astounding miracle that is the human body. It is the quintessential integrated machine. Almost every part serves a unique and essential purpose in normal daily function, and the parameters for such function are incredibly narrow. But take something out, wound something else, or trash multiple systems at once, and the whole assembly adapts around the insults, automatically, without any action or awareness on our part. The body’s compensatory mechanisms exemplify the resilience and tenacity of nature, no doubt about it.
Tonight I’m simply awestruck by how far we can push those parameters of normal function. I just watched my beloved Denver Broncos lose to the Indianapolis Colts in a nail-biter. [Really, it could have gone either way (she exclaims wholeheartedly)!] On every play, players collide like oncoming bullet trains. They dart and cut with the precision of adolescent gazelles. They launch their bodies several feet, in almost any direction and orientation, in a fraction of a second, chasing the erratic movements of that oddly shaped ball. They weigh an average of 250 pounds, let’s say, yet they can sprint faster than anyone I know—talk about overcoming inertia! I remember a video replay this season showing a running back positively defying gravity—bolting full speed while the length of his body made a 30 degree angle with the ground. And I’m proud when I can hold a side plank for 30 seconds, pfft. Tonight I saw a defensive back grab and throw Peyton Manning to the ground, where he then skidded about 5 feet. I mean Peyton is a formidable man, and this guy made him look almost like Raggedy Andy. How on earth can they perform all these feats, over and over again, and not die?
It’s not just football players (and I know the dark side of football, trust me). I think of Michael Phelps, Serena Williams, Michael Jordan, Dana Torres and others, and I marvel at the human body’s capacity for ‘citius, altius, fortius!’ That Olympic motto of, “Faster, higher, stronger!” calls us to push our outer limits, defy the boundaries of what we think we can do. I’ve only begun to strengthen my core (hint—it all starts in the glutes, my friends!). I aspire to my first real chin-up. I am proud that I can hold my planks strong for 30 seconds, sometimes more! These athletes inspire me to fuel and train, not just diet and exercise. I don’t have to be one of them. I just know I can be like them. And I thank each and every one of them for showing the rest of us how it’s done.