No Shortcuts to the Top

No Shortcuts to the Top

I have long dreamed of entering the field without “a pebble in my shoe”… Or, in my case, without pain in the Achilles tendon. I was so preoccupied with that thought that I completely forgot it was only the first step of my return. As I watch this obstacle before me, I realise that it is as demanding as all valuable climbs… If it were otherwise, the sports “top of the world” would be a mere trivial title. I don’t know if I will reach it once again. This is my heart’s wish, but I cannot give any promises. I don’t dare to be that bold.

I can, however, take into consideration the facts and offer possible conclusions… The word “possible” is included here because life has led me down an unexpected path one too many times. And I am grateful for that. Just imagine a road which we know fully in advance! We would probably forever remain five-year olds who only know how to say: “Give that to me!”

So, after the partially completed trainings in the winter, we started spring preparations with full force. As every preparation phase so far, difficult and uncertain, it turned out to be successful and set a solid foundation for the future. This has been precisely the foundation that I have been missing, a safe ground on which I can start building my “dream house” again. Despite great strains, I have remained healthy and welcomed the competition phase. Now something completely different stands before me – transforming everything I did during practice into a jump. Here we are talking about more precise work that requires patience. I must admit that I have grown a little bit impatient after so much waiting. But there is no shortcut and I must follow the rules of the game. I am inclined to become a “drama queen” from time to time (or more frequently!) when things fail to develop the way I intended. Each time I regret my arrogance, as only God knows which paths are best for us. His unit of time is unrelated to ours. In the meantime he raises us, even when we take the longer and harder path. In fact – especially when we take that path.

For two competitions in a row I have had poor results. This is obviously an issue for me, from a subjective point of view, as I wonder why I can’t jump 205 cm immediately now that I am healthy. Objectively, there is a justified reason for everything. Flawed technique in Bühl, and weather that was too cold to even have a cup of coffee in the open, let alone jump, in Sollentuna… Sure, I would love to just return to my old self, who can jump 2 metres even at 8 degrees and in the rain, but is that expectation realistic after such a long period of intermittent trainings and competitions during which I felt pain? Hardly. Just because I can lift 65 kg again, doesn’t mean that I am automatically on the top. The high jump is a subtle discipline which does not allow for compensations. Feet, knees, hips…everything has a place and purpose in the jump-off, and these components are all still at odds with one another. Persistent practice and jumping will, hopefully, bring them to agreement, but until then I have to be prepared for all kinds of turbulence.

What is currently happening is completely new to me too and I am still learning. The most important lesson, though, is the lesson of humility. Thanking God is easy when one accomplishes a 2 metre jump. I remembered these wise words that my priest told me after the competition in Sollentuna… It is difficult to forget one’s pride and ego, smile to the audience and say: “Let’s move on!” I believe I am guided by a much wiser force than I can see from my near-sighted position. Once, I will know the reasons clearly. However, now is not the time for questions, but for patience. So that I can tell to my restless inner child: “Thank you for understanding!”