The enthusiasm of youth is a great motivator for a midlife adventure and fulfilling lifetime dreams. Click To Tweet
I meet the most interesting people on an airport shuttle.
When I hopped in the airport shuttle from Colorado Springs to the Denver International Airport, I sat in front of three cute young girls. They looked approachable and since we had a one hour shuttle ride ahead of us, I decided to start up a conversation: “What are you cute girls doing alone on this shuttle to the airport?” Be careful what you ask….
Sarah, Hannah, and Caterina had just finished competing in the Pentathlon Youth Nationals USA and Canada for 9 – 20 year olds at the U.S. Olympics Center in Colorado Springs.
I vaguely remembered what a Pentathlon was. I knew it had to do with 5 events but couldn’t remember what those 5 events were. The girls were quick to remind me:
Sarah and Hannah are twins in the 10th grade and their friend Caterina is in the 9th grade. How does someone get started in Penthalon? Caterina has family in Italy and when she was living there for a brief time, she went to a pentathlon competition and fell in love with the sport. When she came back to the United States, she told her good friends Sarah and Hannah about her experience, and the three decided to pursue the sport of pentathlon.
Pentathlon is not like soccer or softball where there are several leagues to choose from to learn about and receive support for the sport. Most of the practice for the five areas is done independently; the girls had to find trainers on their own and practice the skills mostly on their own. Once a week they practice the 5 events with other like-minded pentathloners in their area of Northern California.
The girls have been doing this sport for two years. Their lifetime dreams for their sport is lofty: they want to qualify for the Junior Olympics, then the Olympics and the Worlds. Once a year, Nationals are held. In order to qualify for Nationals, the girls had to win a regional competition.
They were on their own (without parental supervision) at the Olympic Center for 10 days. The young women spent five days training, getting used to the altitude, before starting the competition. Each of the events is done in their age category and takes a day to complete. In the end, Hannah placed 15th overall; Sarah placed 9th overall and Caterina placed 5th overall.
What I learned from these 3 ambitious girls can be applied to pursuing lifetime dreams at any age:
- Do What You Like. Just because the sport that interested them wasn’t popular or well known, that didn’t stop them from participating.
- Don’t rely on someone else to do your groundwork. They took it upon themselves to research what they had to do, find experts to mentor and train them, and locate competitions to join.
- Commit to a goal. The girls knew up front where their interests would lead: Olympic Gold and laid out a plan to work towards that goal.
- Perfect your skills. Sometimes you have to forego regular activities so that you can concentrate and practice your goals.
Needless to say the hour went by fast and I certainly had an engaging conversation with these girls. I appreciated that they took the time to enlighten an “old lady” and share their life’s dream with me. And, I fully intend to watch Sarah, Hannah and Caterina in the Olympics one day.
What lifetime dreams are waiting for you?