First of all, I’m not a genetically gifted athlete. I’m just an average guy who tries really hard. This is best summed up from a quote I had read somewhere a long time ago:

You are not a thoroughbred racehorse. You are a donkey. You may become a very fast donkey, but you will never be a thoroughbred.

On the surface it sounds a lot like some negative thinking. It’s really not. The top athletes are the embodiment of this sentiment though. They have the genetic disposition to physically succeed. Their interests coincide with their predisposition for a particular sport. It’s the perfect recipe for success, just with rare ingredients.

It makes sense that there are so few hugely successful athletes in the world, at least from a statistics standpoint. For reference, in 2014 there were 13,700 professional athletes across all sports in the United States. The population at that time was 318.9 million people. Do the math. That means only 0.00004% of the U.S. population were pro athletes in 2014. They weren’t all superstars either.

So what does that mean? Are the odds stacked so heavily against me that I should give up? If you’re only goal is to make it to a professional level of athletics, then the statistics may not look good for you. I’m not worried about the statistics.

Never tell me the odds. – Han Solo

More than any possibility of “making it big” is the fact that I have a sense of belonging in these games. I have found a group of people with whom I have a common interest. We may be competing against each other on paper, but our biggest competitor is ourselves. Nearly everyone I’ve spoken with since getting involved with the Highland Games has said the same thing. We’re always trying to beat our last throw.

I want to succeed. I tell myself every day that I will succeed. Before anyone else will believe in you, you have to believe in yourself. It doesn’t matter what goals you have, just speak it and believe it. The possibilities are endless with enough hard work and faith.

I may always be a donkey, but eventually I’ll be a donkey running races with the thoroughbreds.