I’m Ethan. And I can’t stop competing.

I think I’m just addicted to competing. That just has to be the reason. Not winning…competing. The sense of pushing myself to the limit in the pursuit of perfection. I just can’t seem to fill the void inside me that constantly craves it.

I’ve won plenty and I’ve lost just as much. I’ll continue to win some and lose my share. This is about something so much more. It’s that absolute rush of emotions that overcome you as you listen to the right song, take that deep breath through your nose, and feel the chills run down your spine. The feeling you get from the endless staring contest in the mirror wondering if the person in the reflection is good enough, hard enough, calloused enough to endure.

I’m 37. I feel 18 inside. And every year I wonder if this will be the last one. Is there an end to this fire? Will I ever outgrow it? I’m not that kid anymore. Why am I still so fired up for the next one?

How is it that I can still put on my headphones, feel a beat, and let an energy start to bubble? I’m old. I’m a dad. I’m middle-aged. Young me expected me to be sipping chamomile tea and reading the newspaper right now. How is it that I can put myself in the same state of mind as that 18-year-old who just shook with the internal scream of “Let’s GO!”

 

 

I really don’t have an answer for this. Maybe it’s my 2nd cup of coffee this morning. Or maybe I’m innately feeling the eve of XC Nationals. Regardless, I hope this never fades. I fear for if it does.

Sure, I’ll sip some chamomile and read the paper from time to time, but I also want to pound my chest and push my limits. Ironically, those who know me know that I’m never one to pound my chest or scream “Let’s GO!” But those who really know me see that twitch and drive bubbling below the surface. It’s the engine driving the whole thing.

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