Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Myth of the Off Season

There's been so much written lately about the "off season." After (too much) reading, I was starting to worry that I wasn't "doing" my off-season right. ACK!!!

My off season doesn't look or feel much like what I read about. After taking a step back, I began to realize that the issue is that "off season" can be portrayed in a very mythical, even unobtainable way.

It's supposed to be this magical time to rejuvenate, to heal, to grow, and to self-actualize. We are encouraged to explore other sports - perhaps go cross country skiing, or parasailing, or play golf. We're supposed to be getting massages (beachfront, ideally) and body work and paying extra attention to nutrition and hydration. It's the time to catch up on reading, or perhaps paint that wall mural as a creative expression of oneself. (sounds a bit like "Real Housewives of...")


Ha! It's a total MYTH! We are not the center of the universe!!

The reality for most of us who juggle sport and life and family and work is that off-season hits at the same time as Halloween-Thankgiving-Christmas. Off-season is a time for catching up, and moving double-time, to do things that were back-burnered during race season. It's a time of travel and traditions and family projects. It's a time of fall sickness, fevered kids home from school, and trips to the urgent care clinic. It's when we stay up late to plot holiday surprises and special gifts. This is when careful nutrition makes way for cookie baking and holiday parties. Off-season means volunteering and (finding) donating time. It's the time we stay up too late and get up too early just to get things done. It's when finances are tightest, time is shortest, and so the tennis ball and foam roller often serve as the masseuse. Schedules are loaded with concerts, parades, and special events...

....and I wouldn't have it any other way.

In the midst of it all, I choose to keep up a certain amount of swim/bike/run. Those activities let me step out of the frenzy for a little while.

Will I emerge from a mythical off-season rested and glowing? Probably not. But this time can serve a multitude of purposes. Maybe for me, it's to ensure my priorities are in order and that they are reflected in the ways I invest my time. I've got some work to do.

In the meantime, if I seem a little frazzled and am not doing my off-season or my holiday season "right," so be it.