When I was a child, one of my favorite books (that my mother read to me) was Little Cottontail. It was one of those “Golden Books”, remember the ones with the gold spine? It was about a little rabbit that wanted to be grown up. “Am I grown up now, Mother?” he would ask. The mother would say, “No, Little Cottontail, first you must. . .” Then there was a list: learn to find food in the winter, how to zig zag to avoid the fox and a couple other things. By the end of the book, the little rabbit did all these things and asked if he was gown up. The mother nuzzles him and says, “Yes, Big Cottontail.” (By the way, that does NOT count as a spoiler since it is a children’s book!!!)
One day my friend, Shawna, and I were biking together and I guess I said something about wishing I were an athlete. I have always been the clutsy nerd type, never an athlete. She said that because I was biking six days a week that made me an athlete.
“But Shawna, aren’t athletes. . .um. . .thin?” I hate to point out the obvious, you know, that I am NOT! (Shawna is one of those beautiful, size 4, runner types so how could she miss this not-minor-detail?)
She just smiled and said, “What about Babe Ruth?”
Was he overweight? All I know is that he was a famous baseball player. I asked and she assured me that he was overweight. Wow. I was feeling pretty good about that until she said, “. . .and what about Sumo wrestlers?” I pictured myself standing with a sumo wrestler, and my “athlete dreams” instantly vanished. Thanks for the visual Shawna.
This conversation started me wondering. What is an athlete anyway? Is it someone who puts on a uniform? Because I wear my helmet, gloves and bike shorts whenever I ride. Yep, I am sure I look absolutely “sumo wrestler-ish” in my bike shorts, but they are oh so comfortable. (Comfort in the saddle is very important for long rides.)
Of course, I looked up definitions of the word athlete. I found that I am not the first one to have asked this question. It has been discussed by other inquiring minds on forums many times before apparently. But it doesn’t answer my question: am I an athlete now?
I read a definition somewhere that I really liked. It said an athlete is someone training for a goal. I have a couple goals I am training for. Am I an athlete now? Somehow it just doesn’t seem like enough.
So I looked up the definition of “cyclist”. It said, “someone who rides a bike”. Ok, I qualify for that one!
Just call me a cyclist then!