As an athlete, or someone who plays sport, no matter what level, you’re probably going to require some equipment or special clothing to be able to keep take part – running trainers, a badminton racquet, swimming goggles, yoga mat, tennis ball, shin pads etc. Most sports groups have club equipment that you can borrow at sessions so you don’t have to spend money on your own before deciding if you really want to carry on with the sport or if your budget can’t stretch to afford these items. These are great to get people initially interested in sport and most local sports centres hire racquets, shuttlecocks and balls along with the court. But today I want to talk about when you make that step and invest in your own sport – Owning Your Sport.
I can still remember going to the sports shop to buy my first badminton racquet when I was about 9/10. I got a blue Yonex Musclepower one and I loved how light it felt in my hands compared to the bulky, sweaty club ones I was used to borrowing. It was shiny, beautiful and clean, but most importantly, it was mine! I kept it in it’s case and took it to training sessions and tournaments. It’s still in the cupboard now!
About a year ago I decided to join the triathlon team. My aim was to complete A triathlon (just one), not the six that I’ve done this year. Although I got my team’s green and gold trisuit back in November, I still didn’t feel like I completely ‘owned’ triathlon, and it felt wrong to call it my sport, I kept calling myself a swimmer. I was borrowing a bike from the club and although I named him Eddie, I knew he wasn’t right for me and I’d have to return him at the end of term.
Then, in June this year I got my own bike. A lovely yellow and white ladies bike – the right height for me too – and I named her Blanca. Since then, I’ve done two triathlons and a cycling time trial and love taking her out for rides. Owning a bike makes me finally feel that I can call myself a proper triathlete, as I have all the basic equipment that I need to complete one. Sure I don’t have a fancy TT bike, cleats or an aero helmet but I’m happy with what I have and now feel like I own my sport. It’s empowering to own my own equipment, not have to rely on borrowing from others and I feel proud.
What about you, do you feel like you own, embody and promote your sport? Share your stories. If not, I challenge you to do so!