Monday, March 2, 2009

Pushing Back. Sharing the Load.

Its funny how the simple, often insignificant events in life can become metaphors for life's bigger lessons. Let me give you an example:

On Fridays before training at KZ, our team has core stability training. This is the Dutch alternative to American weightlifting (I prefer the Dutch way - less bulk, more cheese.) Anyhow, core stability is run by our team Physio, Lars. Lars typically runs us thru a few exercises in an attempt to develop core strength.

One of his favorite drills is to have us partner up and squat back to back. The aim is to see which pair can stay squatting longest.Lars likes to pair us off by height - this means I am usually with the tall, extremely thin, 18 year old Marloes. Now, don't get me wrong, Marloes is a total gem - she is an avid watcher of Gossip Girl, my favorite tv show (we often discuss this topic during training) - but when it comes to strength, I sometimes fear I am a bit too weighty for Marloes.

On Friday, we were getting ready to perform the exercise. Round 1: We both squat down, back to back. Marloes is pushing against me, but I am just yielding to her weight, trying to hold her up, afraid she can't handle my force. Bam! We immediately collapse to the floor - I just couldn't carry her weight and my own. Round 2: We get ready to squat down again. And again, I yield to her weight pushing against me - and again we fail - Bam! down we go. Round 3: We squat down into the same position, knowing we were unsuccessful in our first two attempts. Marloes, though, with the wisdom of her youth, says, "Rachel, just push back against me." I figured I ought to take her advice, because the previous method wasn't working. So I pushed back against Marloes who was pushing back against me - these equal and opposite forces pushing against each other gave us balance and strength. We stayed standing. For a long time. And, we won round 3.

Now the fact that we won isn't the important part of the story (eventhough I love winning; and despise losing.) I was thinking about this exercise last night before bed. There is an interesting lesson to be learned here. Sometimes, you have to push back against the world - you have to lean against others even when they are leaning against you - sometimes that gives you the stability to stand. You don't always have to carry other people's weight in addition to your own. Sometimes, your only option isto push back against the world, and, hopefully, the world will share your load.

No comments: