Anyway injury in sport seems to be pretty common - people are trying to run faster, jump higher, lift more or push harder. All these athletes work so close to the edge so much of the time that you really get to see people who are pushing their bodies to the limit and still expect them to work perfectly. This is especially true in disability sport (and dance I guess) where those who choose not to accept their limitations require and expect their bodies to perform at their peak without question. Often, they expect them to perform at the peak performance of their able bodied counterparts which is amazing when you come to really think about it. People like Oscar Pistorius and Jody Cundy are trying to qualify for able bodied teams and they are not alone in this desire . I wonder what it is that drives people like us - is it that we are just stupid and cannot recognise that our bodies were not designed to do all of this stuff? But then what of runners like Kelly Holmes or cyclists like Chris Hoy? Are their bodies doing what they were born to do or did they get to the top by gritting their teeth and pushing through the pain. I wonder if the injuries they picked up along the way were a warning to them that their bodies were not designed to be abused in that way. In fact , do you ever wonder if pushing your body to out perform itself, and everyone else, is just another form of abuse like cigarettes alcohol or drugs. Plainly no one who looks at a top athlete sees someone who is abusing their body in any way, but day in day out, these guys are pushing and pushing, running faster, harder and longer, swimming until their lungs burst, pushing until their fingers bleed... and along the way picking up small niggles, an injury here, a fall there all of which land them back on the physio bench. All pretty deep questions eh? and ones I don't have any real answers to either.
The only thing I know for sure, is that I don't know that any of these people were born to do what they do - sure, they plainly have some kind of basic talent for what they do, but what pushes them forward is their mental approach. They see no limits to what they can try to do and they set themselves up to just try harder in pursuit of their dreams . They judge that the risk to their bodies in pushing ever onwards is an acceptable one. They are prepared to put up with the pain of injury as well as the pain of training. They see the reward (whether that be perfection of the move, accolade from an audience or a gold medal) and they decide that it is worth whatever it takes to get it.
So, there's all this talk of dancers and athletes and I guess quite a few readers out there are wondering just how an entry like this relates to them. Well maybe it doesn't at all but I think it's true that we are all faced from time to time with fairly debilitating stuff -pain, colds and flu, arthritis, stomach ache, migraine - you name it we all struggle with stuff. Sometimes we really are too ill to do anything and sometimes we just don't want to go to work and are favouring a duvet day and I guess these represent the extremes of the things that we are faced with not being able (or not wanting) to do. Assuming though that you fall somewhere in between those 2 extremes, you often find that how ill you feel depends on what you are faced with doing - i.e. what your 'reward' is. If you are going out with your friends to do something you booked tickets for ages ago and are really looking forward to then you are more inclined to push yourself to do it, compared to, say, yet another boring day in the office. Risk and reward - it's true right through life - we all have that capacity to push ourselves a little bit harder if it's for the 'right' outcome. Those disabled people who push themselves to out perform their able bodied counterparts are just the same - it's just that they are prepared to take the greater risk - even if it does mean injury along the way. You see, mentally, for them the reward is worth the risk, worth all the pain, worth all the potential for injury and worth all the time on the physio bench. I guess that it all just equates to the fact that they just figure it's always worth going in to the office (if humanly possible) if there's a pay check at the end of the month.