Growing up, sports came naturally to me. I always assumed sports would be fun until eventually, they weren’t. The pressure to succeed and attain the highest level possible was not something I could ever reach.
At the beginning of 3rd grade, I decided to pretend to have pain precisely so that I could feel the attention I craved and felt I was missing. I created a role whereby I’d pretend to limp home from the bus stop or I’d complain of pain in my feet at my after-school sports classes.
Two and a half months later, my feet really did hurt. More pain and decreased range of motion followed until I was finally given the diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), an inflammatory condition whereby the body attacks its own joints causing pain and stiffness.
I very quickly learned what it felt like to be chosen last for games. As much as I wanted to run and play, the pain in my body limited me. I would have thought that this would have eased the pressure to excel. It didn’t.
My Dad, a nationally ranked tennis player, made me a bet when I was 16. If I could beat him in tennis he’d buy me a car. On the day of the match, I was really happy with how I played, but it wasn’t good enough. My Dad beat me 7-5 in a tiebreaker.
After my senior year of high school playing Varsity tennis, I quit the sport altogether. I had hit a mental and physical plateau and worst of all, I was so frustrated with my inability to improve that I lost interest and excitement for the game.
I wish I had had me when I was 16. I would have been able to get out of my own way so that my body could perform optimally. Hitting the plateau, losing the bet, and quitting the sport all could have been prevented had I worked with someone like myself. I would have been able to understand that what I was making up in my mind about my performance caused me to feel bad about myself, which negatively influenced my game.
My decision to work with athletes stems from my experience of being an athlete myself and of knowing the frustration of having physical conditions such as chronic and acute pain. I also know first-hand what it’s like to be challenged by the mental side of sports. I know what it’s like physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to live with a chronic condition such as arthritis.
Schedule an appointment to identify the root cause of your issue and get back to your life or your game with more ease, happiness, and passion.