I was never the natural athlete in the family. That was Tyler’s role. Blessed with the ability to master any sport that involved a ball, he was naturally ready to test his skills at t-ball at the young age of five. At the time, I was much more content with keeping my nose in a book and catching the latest cartoons on the Disney Channel.
So when my parents went to the local youth league to sign Tyler up for t-ball, I tagged along. Ty was ready to play but was shy and nervous to try out alone. Being the protective older sister, I reluctantly signed up with him so that we could try out together. That same day my parents bought me a glove, and with no skills whatsoever I walked out onto the field with my brother. Yes, I was the kid on the field with a stiff glove and jean shorts.
Despite my less than stellar performance, I was placed on a team with Ty and we learned the game of t-ball together. Day after day, mom would sit and chat with the other moms in the bleachers and dad would hang out and help with the other coaches. Every time it was my turn to practice hitting, I would give mighty swing after swing and come up with nothing but air.
I still remember the frustration as I whiffed at each pitch thrown by our coach. But as the time went on, I got the hang of it. And by the end of the season, I was the only girl selected for the All Star team.
One step was all it took. One decision to stick by my brother. And the rest is history. We both developed a love and passion for the game.
(Supporting Ty during his second season with the Cubs. I had already moved onto softball by then.)
Season after season, dad would work us until we perfected our skills. Ball became our lives. Hot Florida sun or freezing Virginia temperatures, we were out on that field. During high school we were lucky enough to live right next to a little league field. Weekends consisted of shagging grounders and pop flies. Dad would pitch us buckets and buckets of balls. And when it was too cold to practice outside, we would go to our high school gym and field grounders off of the basketball court.
Ball may not have been my number one choice at the age of seven but as my love for the game grew I always had one thing – the unwavering support of my parents and the constant companionship of my brother. It’s weird to think that one random spring day of t-ball tryouts in Florida shaped my whole life. One step. One decision was all it took.
After I stopped playing softball during my Sophomore year of college, I had a huge void in my life. For 14 years, softball was my focus and driving force. The competitor in me knew something was missing. I was finished with softball. What was I supposed to do with myself?
After a few years of not having any fitness or athletic goals, I finally found it…running. I was not a natural runner…not in the least. In college, the idea of running a mere mile before practice would cause nervous butterflies in my stomach. But one day I was motivated. One day I was pushed. And that push came from no other than my brother.
From shy five year old, to Marine in training, Ty underwent his first session of OCS in the summer of 2009. As the weeks passed, I became inspired by his dedication and success while he was there. His letters would detail the crucial drills, the long PTs, the endless nights of studying, and sweltering humps in the July sun. I had run out of excuses. I needed something to be drive me again. And just like that, I started running.
One step on the track led to one lap. One lap led to one mile. One mile led to three. And as summer went on, I became a runner. After I ran my first half marathon in May of 2010 I became addicted. Running meant more to me than exercise. Running became a way to achieve goals, a way to stay in shape, a way to improve and push myself further than I ever thought possible. Running became my new driving force.
All it took was one step. One step day after day. One step further than the day before. This morning, the last thing I wanted to do was layer up and go running. I was so warm and sleeping hard with Bill curled up on my legs. But I took that step to get out of bed, then one more step to my closet to change, and finally that one step to begin my run. Now, my run for the day is finished and I am one step closer to my goals and dreams of becoming a better runner.
So what’s the point of all of this? To illustrate that one small step is all it takes to change everything. Whether it’s taking the step to better health, signing up for a gym membership, registering for a 5k, or doing your first triathlon…all you need to do is take that first step.
No goal or dream is too big. It just takes one step.