Inspire: To breathe life into
BY Katie Eberling
There are powerful moments in life when you feel something stir deep inside you. Someone, something, or some event sparks a new way of thinking and motivates you to be better than you are- it is called inspiration. Inspiration can be found in the most uplifting moments and also emerge out of the most tragic events. I believe it is the source of attraction for so many to the Olympic Games; the moving stories of triumph and adversity.
What are the sources of my inspiration?
I was a sophomore in high school when I saw Misti May and Kerry Walsh win their first gold in Athens. I immediately went to the grass court in my backyard and started serving the ball for hours. Serve, chase, and repeat. Finally, my dad came out of the house to put an end to the insanity, at least that’s what I expected. Instead, he stood on the other side of the net and rolled the ball back so I could get more reps.
For anything you are pursuing in life, I believe it is critical to hungrily seek knowledge from those who have done it before. Those who have achieved success (whatever your definition), already know what it takes, and simply get it. This can be achieved though exploring books, videos, stories, etc. Additionally, I think it’s even more important to pass it on to others.
We are all guilty of becoming overly self-centered in pursuit of our goals, but thankfully something brings us back. Perspective is gained from the most humbling moments. Currently, I am training in Chula Vista, California at the Olympic Training Center. The warm weather and change of scenery were the main determining factors behind this decision. Little did I know, I was going to gain so much more. Just when you begin to take a breath in to release a complaint, someone around the Chula running track brings you a needed dose of perspective. It may be the Iraq veteran and two-time Paralympian thrower, Scott Winkler, who lost his ability to walk but still proudly serves his country. It may be the three- time Paralympic medalist, Lex Gilette, who can only imagine what the track looks like because he is completely blind. His personal motto is, “No need for sight when you have a vision”. Check out my friend, Lex’s, incredible story heading into the London Games:
I watch these extraordinary athletes and many others compete out on the track and in the weight room daily, challenging limits- all without complaint.
I am a quote enthusiast; I have them written virtually everywhere my eyes rest. I’ll share one of my favorite quotes of all time: “Happiness is a journey, not a destination”. It is an incredibly important reminder for the next nine months of my life. I have never been to the Olympics, but I would imagine the two greatest feelings are walking into the opening ceremony and the weight of a gold medal around your neck. These confirming moments carry value because they represent so much: obstacles overcome, people who have supported you, countless hours of training, sacrifices, your passion for sport, opportunity to represent the United States of America, and all those who have stood there before you. These moments are extraordinary because they represent the entire journey.
God’s Word is the ultimate source of word inspiration. One of my favorite verses is Romans 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us? Challenges in life can be a complete test of faith. These moments remind me to trust in God’s plan, because I know He is the one in control.
For those of you who don’t know me, I am a diehard Cubs fan. My father impressed this loyalty upon me far before I was capable of making such colossal choices. Why would anyone support a team who consistently finds a way to bring heartache, pain, and disappointment? Let me ask another question, have you ever been to Wrigley Field? Every time I step foot into that stadium I am fascinated. It’s a place where for a few hours, 40,000 friends from all over the world come to enjoy America’s pastime. It’s the most beautiful sight in the world-it’s my place of inspiration.
Everyone will have a place that transforms them. It could be by a lake in the mountains or in the comfort of your own home, it can even be found in the aftermath of a natural disaster. However, not everyone will find their place, for some, their place finds them.
Friends and Family
My family and friends inspire me to train and compete without fear, because I know I have their unconditional love and support. I can pursue unknowns and let go of outcomes, because I know the people who are most important to me are always going to be standing in my corner. In order to compete at this level, you need a certain level of fearlessness and confidence in order to be successful.
Even though I have to sacrifice time with my friends and family, I take pieces of them everywhere I go. I use my mom’s passion, my dad’s work ethic, my sister’s compassionate heart, my best friend’s advice to pursue my dreams. They have made me who I am.
Katie Eberling received an email from 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Elana Meyers at the end of 2010, and she decided to give it a try. She played volleyball for Western Michigan University and holds the record for the most matches and sets played and most career kill/dig double doubles. Eberling was an immediate favorite for the bobsled team after claiming the 2011 U.S. National Push Champion title in her rookie season, and boasts two World Championships medals in her young bobsledding career. Follow @katieeberling on Twitter to learn more about this talented Olympic hopeful.
*Athlete blog entries are the sole opinion of each individual author and may not be representative of the USBSF or its athletes