In the real world no one looks like that

It’s difficult to imagine anyone having a problem with a fit, attractive body. It’s an ideal most of us strive for- the toned muscles, the six-pack abs, the confidence that goes with being powerful, gifted, and in the prime of life. It’s also an ideal few normal humans are able to attain. Genetics being what it is, our body and what it looks like is to a large degree predetermined. In my case, I long since had to come to grips with that I’m never going to be mistaken for a professional athlete…unless you consider poker or darts an athletic endeavor. I don’t play either game, but I could easily pass for a professional- as long as no one looks too deeply or asks any probing questions.

What fascinates me is our collective inability to accept ourselves for who and what we are. I’m certainly no different in that regard. Even though I’ve been an active person for most of my life, I’ll never be mistaken for a well-conditioned athlete. I’m 57; like most guys my age, I could stand to lose 20-25 pounds and if I’m running you can rest assured someone or something threatening is chasing me.

Caroline Wozniacki, as is undoubtedly true with the other athletes featured in ESPN’s Body Issue, is blessed to be able to fully devote herself to her craft. She’s a professional; her focus is her tennis game and she devotes considerable time to honing her skills and keeping herself in top-flight. It’s understandable that she would have a body most “normal” humans would dearly love to be the owner of. If you work an 8-5 job, attend meetings, and cart your kids from soccer practice to band practice to whatever else they have going on, there isn’t enough time to train as she does. All Wozniacki has to worry about is training to play tennis and being the best player she can be. She’s able to afford to have others attend to the mundane details of day-to-day life. I don’t know that she has an entourage who tends to her business, but it wouldn’t strain credulity if she did.

There’s nothing wrong with appreciating (perhaps even envying, if only a little) a body like Wozniacki’s. Unlike the rest of us mere mortals, she won the genetic lottery and she’s a fabulously gifted athlete. People like me would, if it would make a difference, sue our parents for genetic malpractice. Here in the real world, that’s not possible…and so we need to learn to accept ourselves for what we are.

I know I certainly do.

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