Jazzercise is a Sport

Yes. I have started jazzercise.

For those of you who knew me as a college athlete, or as a high school athlete, or as a ridiculously competitive kid…this may be hard to picture.

I admit, it was a little hard for me to visualize for myself, since my outward impression has been that those classes are for slow, old ladies. I have been to four classes, and I don’t believe that anymore.  I may be slower and older…but these classes are what you make of them. (I have been sore after every one:)

It kindof feels like I’m starting a twelve-step program and it takes concerted effort to enunciate the phrase, “Hi, my name is Meagan, and I am a jazzerciser.”

Sports have generally been about competition for me. Driving myself past pain, or injury or any opponent I might face. It was serious business.

Working out was like that for me for a long time too.  Long runs, intense lifting, and I would even find ways to compete with aerobics classmates to lift heavier weights and do more repetitions. I didn’t mind eyes watching me in a gym, so I could show off strength and agility. I loved the mirrors so I could be reminded that I am actually pretty coordinated.

My jazzercise classroom has no mirrors. There are no men…and thus no distraction and no competing for attention. (those of you who spend any time in a gym, know what I’m talking about)

I’m changing.

I have started to crave the exercise that fulfills so much more than a physical achievement, or identity affirmation.  I have accepted the limits of my body, and I know I can get stronger and more aerobically fit, but I will NEVER be in the kind of shape I remember being in when I was younger.

I’ve been in denial about that, and I started to realize I was never going to enjoy exercise again, if I kept getting angry about what my body can’t do anymore.

It’s a psychological hurdle I had not anticipated. As I’ve started this CTG:For the Sport of It project, I have laid out the many areas I want to explore. It is becoming apparent that, if I want to truly grow through this process, I am going to have to expose some of the uglier parts about my own personal psychology with sports.

My identity has been so wrapped up in sports, that it is going to take some time to dig through the reasons I’ve made the choices I have.  College sports were an achievement, and ultimately a way to pay for college. Commuting forty minutes to coach for a competitive club was a way I sought approval from a father-figure mentor. And accepting a college coaching position was about status and recognition…at first.

So here I am. Sandwiched between the crazy, competitive world of our kids’ sports while I navigate my own world as an athlete on the backside of my trip through.

My kids and I are experiencing sports on two distinct levels.

The first of 27 definitions of the word “sport” describes it as a “competitive athletic activity requiring skill and physical prowess”. Definition three, on the dictionary app on my phone–(high level source, I know!) says sport is a “diversion; recreation, or pleasant pasttime.”

I’ve never looked at sports from the third definition. I’ve been on the first definition my entire life, and if I wasn’t able to do the first one well, I didn’t want to do any sport at all.

I want to change my focus. I am not one-dimensional, and my experience with sports needs to be fuller and multi-dimensional too.

Do what I CAN do, right?

I just want to dance to good music, burn a few calories and have fun…that’s my sport these days.  What’s yours?

Categories: Psychology, Uncategorized

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5 replies »

      • Great piece Meagan. I am somewhere in between. I know I can’t be in the shape I was in 10 years ago. But, I started doing triathlons and it keeps me fit and competitive with myself which I think was always a part of my “sport.” I love the article though; it has made me reflect.

      • I think for me, some of the problem with wanting to continue at the pace of competition I did when I was younger is that I am finally figuring out WHY I was as driven as I was. It wasn’t for the overall “sport”…it was for approval and acceptance and not because I personally enjoyed it. I think it’s great that triathalons offer the “sport” you need…if I did it, I’m not sure I would enjoy it, and I would be doing it to prove something to everyone else. MMF

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