Achieving the unthinkable- Autobiography of a disguised team player

This piece is a fictional autobiography that takes you on a deep psychological journey exploring an athlete’s emotional mind

Sports, being part of a team… is portrayed as fun and exciting. Is that all a lie or is it just me?

Ever since I was young, I never knew what I wanted to be, who I wanted to be, and what ambition even was. Now I know! Having ambition makes me feel strong, powerful, and undefeatable; it has shaped me into the person that I am today.

As a youngster, sport was my escape from normality. I could be whoever I wanted to be, enjoy the freedom while being with my friends. Growing up, sport either fades out of your life or you become more passionate for it; luckily for me I was beyond passionate. I used to watch all these outstanding athletes compete in the Olympics and thoughts would circle my mind… am I good enough to one day compete at that level? The answer is yes, I am capable of achieving anything as long as I put my mind to it. Not everyone had the same attitude as I did.

It’s easy to follow the crowd without even knowing that you’re doing it, I did it and I can’t imagine that I am the only one. Being part of a team is exciting, you want everyone to like you and for them to see the unique skills that you can bring to the group. I have always been an individual who wants to try hard and better myself, to work up the ladder of success- maybe this is the reason why I didn’t fit in. Was I competition or a threat to them? You see on the tv that teams support each other, reward each other for their achievements and the group dynamics are unbreakable. From this perception, I couldn’t wait to be part of a team, but it wasn’t all that it had cracked up to be.

What is so amazing about being part of a team? The commitment, the constant pressure of feeling as if you have to fit in, having to work up to a certain standard or you’re seen as a weakness to the team. I experienced all of this, I still wonder now why I lost myself for so long, all to continue being part of the team. It was no longer enjoyment; it was routine and within that I could feel myself fading away from the person I once was. That individual with strength, a whole machine of confidence… that person no longer existed. Do you want to know the real reasons as to why I lost myself? I’ll tell you. I felt unwanted, neglected as if I were letting the team down. Hearing these words and thinking these thoughts are two completely different scenarios. In my case, it wasn’t my mind running away, I heard it. The biggest confidence drop was when I was constantly picked last, at first, I thought it was my skills and performance that were dragging me down. Once again, this wasn’t the reality of the situation, I just didn’t belong in the group. You can imagine how shallow and belittled this made me feel, my emotions were sky high, my mind was swirling as if I was on a fair ride. I couldn’t escape this; I was trapped in a sporting world that I couldn’t break out from. When you’re in that position, you can’t see a solution to this heartbreaking situation. The one thing that got me through this was being a fighter, deep down I still had ambition, I still had fight left in me

Let’s fast forward 6 years, bright lights, the crowd cheering, and I see my family’s faces smiling with happiness. Of course, this is all in my mind, but the thought of it makes me want to strive to work harder. My whole perception of achievement has changed, I don’t win as a team I win as an individual. The pressures have gone, and the confidence has returned, I am an individual athlete. I think of myself as Mowgli from the jungle book, fierce, strong, and fearful- having these traits has made me the athlete that I am today. I am my own team, my own support, and my own pick me up when things get tough. Despite all the additional struggles that come with being an individual athlete, I now know that I belong in this role. 

I am thriving in my sport, increasing my ability, and making myself proud; I was finally on a clear road to succession. Participating individually in sports brings you comfort and happiness that you would’ve never experienced before. I got to express myself and not be afraid of judgment; this also encouraged me to try new opportunities and stretch myself out of my comfort zone. Working as an individual is rewarding, the vast majority of it comes from yourself. You don’t have people to fall back on, you can only rely on yourself to perform to the best of your ability; but you always knew that your talent would be recognised and rewarded by your coaches. In life, I’ve always had a prodigious dream of being a ‘somebody’ in the sporting industry, someone who young people could look up to, like I had with my role models.

 The reality is that everyone has all different ambitions in life, I didn’t think mine was achievable, but it never stopped me from chasing my dreams. The moral of this is that you can achieve your goal, but it’s in your hands to do it- stop relying on others and drop the expectations. YOU CAN DO IT!

`Throughout my journey, I learned that individuality is so important as once you find yourself and your own identity the pieces will then begin to fit into the puzzle. I was only a young teenager when I progressed on this journey and it’s been a rollercoaster- scary but exciting. Now I’m beginning the biggest and most challenging part of my journey. Remember the bright lights, the crowd cheering, and the smiles coming from my family? This is no longer a vision; I am living my dream. I have achieved the unthinkable as I am one of the youngest female gymnasts to be part of the Olympics.

 

My name is Lacie Brown, and this is my story.

About the Author

Daniella Jordan will pursue Sports and Exercise Psychology at University in September 2021. She has competed in Gymnastics and Cheerleading. 

Being an athlete was always something special to me. It gave me the confidence to become who I am today and allowed me to express myself while enjoying new opportunities. From a young age, I have been competing in gymnastics and cheerleading. My passion for sports and the happiness it gives me are indescribable. 

I want to learn how the athletes manage their emotions, the pressures they are put under and any challenges they face when they compete in the sport. I am excited to learn more!

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