What would you say if you could go back in time and give yourself advice?
This is the question answered by The Players’ Tribune series Letter to My Younger Self. Athletes write to themselves when they were young, reflecting on the lessons they’ve learned on topics ranging from finance to relationships and careers.
Henrik Lundqvist’s post on January 10, 2017, gave me goosebumps (the picture above of the New York Rangers goaltender is used with permission; Taylor Baucom/The Players’ Tribune). My first thought was that I couldn’t wait to share it with my kids. As a person who loves sport, and as a mother raising kids in sport I was reminded that it’s important to have fun at any age and at any level. Whether sport is about dreams, passion, family, hard work, or overcoming struggles there are stories to be told and lessons to be learned.
Lundqvist’s letter inspired me to write one of my own:
Dear, eight-year-old Trina.
This is the time for you to try lots of different things and have many experiences. Some you will love (gymnastics will make you feel powerful and graceful at the same time) and some you will not (your swimming instructors will repeatedly tell you to put your face in the water and look at the bottom of the pool). Skate on frozen lakes in the winter and run barefoot in the sand in the summer. Learn how to throw and catch a baseball and a football, play street hockey and basketball in the driveway. Ride your bike, play Kick the Can, Red Rover, and Capture the Flag.
Pay attention when you fall in love with running when you’re ten. This love will stay with you. Know that whatever happens as you grow older you can always put on running shoes and head out the door. No equipment or facilities needed and it will always make you feel good.
Be grateful for your parents who will support you, encourage you, cheer you on, and make you feel loved, always. Their example will stay with you and help you do the same for your kids when you become a mom (spoiler alert).
Trina, you are not a quitter. You won’t back down in the face of adversity. Remember this when you feel like quitting the team because your time on the bench time is more than your time in the game.
If you feel tired or stuck, keep in mind that nature is what grounds you and rejuvenates you. Go play!
Keep this sense of play, love of nature, and of moving your body your whole life so you can pass it down to your kids. It will be hard to let them take risks sometimes but encourage them to try many things, like you did, and they will also find what they love and be active for life, just like you.
Enjoy every day. Never stop moving.
Tell us what you think of Henrik’s letter or the other letters that have been posted. Which was your favourite? Why?