So twice now my friend The Viking has commented how athletic he feels me to be.
This sounds extremely odd to me, considering the fact that I have never considered myself to be very athletic at all - frankly, after the obligatory small school sports in 6th - 8th grade and one season of soccer, I have done nothing formally athletic in 25 years. One good thing about moving, I suppose - now I run, practice Iai, lift and throw heavy things, and do obstacle courses.
Which got me thinking (as it often does): why would he say that?
Most of my friends that throw are far stronger and better at it than I am. I would, in fact, consider them to be classic athletes. Certainly not the guy that seems to have neither speed nor strength.
But as I thought about it, I realized that perhaps in at least one area, I am a generalist.
My friends, for the most part - especially in Highland Athletics - are by and large lifters and former college athletes of the hurling type. Running - or really any kind of cardio - is to them almost anathema. The fact that I run at all is a matter of wonder and good natured kidding to them.
I am not be able to out-sprint them (note lack of speed comment above) but I believe I could out-endure them.
The dangers of monoculture, of course. If I become an expert in one thing I cannot do other things very well.
But then I got to thinking about other friends I have, runners or bikers. By and large, they have the same sort of unconscious thought: they do their sport and really do not practice aspects of others. Although in different arenas, they have the same issue.
I am not sure what I am really thinking of here. Other than the fact that perhaps we need to reconsider what we mean by athleticism: is it being good at one thing (specialist) or is it being okay at a number of things (generalist)?
Which turns, I suppose, on why you are being an athlete in the first place.