When I was little I wanted to be a train. Not a train driver, a train.
Either a train or a shark.
Then I grew up a bit and decided there were career paths that I would find preferable to being a train or a shark.
It was around this time I started playing rugby and basketball. So naturally when the teachers asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, I would reply something like: ‘I want to be a professional rugby player.’
This was fine for the first few years, as I was amongst aspiring astronauts, firemen, rock stars and actors. But as I started getting older and the rock stars and astronauts started turning into teachers and lawyers, my dreams of becoming a world class athlete began to stick out. Now I have no problem with people becoming teachers and lawyers. If that’s what you want to do then you shouldn’t let anybody tell you otherwise. My problem was that in reply to my dreams I was being told by teachers that being a professional athlete was something that only happens to other people. The lucky few that you read about or see on TV, that’s someone else’s life, and that I should aim for something more realistic. Why don’t I look at becoming a manager of somewhere?
Now at the time I was hearing this, I wasn’t a good rugby player, and I was using a paint dot on a tree as my basketball hoop. All I knew was that I didn’t want to sit around at a desk all day and live the rest of my life like I lived my school life. I wanted to love what I do. I wanted to run around and get muddy for the rest of my life.
I clung to this as I grew up, and I continue to cling to this hope now.
I am very lucky to have supportive parents who were willing to take me out to do sport, and at one point I was doing 2 to 3 hours of sports a day, with 2 to 3 games a week. And as I worked, things started to change.
By sheer volume, I was getting fitter than everybody else. I was the only one never drinking when I hung out with my friends on a night, I gave up other pastimes that I enjoyed like rollerblading and judo and spend half of my nights on my street, throwing rugby balls around or shooting basketballs.
After all of the work and effort I put in, the shy kid who hid from the ball and froze to death at the back of the rugby pitch started to improve and change. I began to enjoy myself more and more and my role in my sports teams began to grow until I was one of the better athletes competing.
After all of the sacrifices I made I was thrilled when I got the chance to play basketball in the metro radio arena and I couldn’t believe it when I got into Newcastle Falcons rugby academy.
Now instead of teachers telling me not to bother, I was being asked for free tickets ‘when I’m rich and famous’. I found it amazing how differently people act around you when they believe you have a chance. It went from ‘but what about your plan b?’ to ‘I’m teaching this kid who’s playing for the north of England’ so sneakily I hardly noticed it.
Now I sadly lost my love for rugby a bit when I started playing semi-professionally, and went off in search of a different dream to follow, but here’s the thing:
Who says you can’t be a professional athlete?
Who says you can’t have the body of your dreams?
Who says you can’t make a career doing what you love?
Who says you can’t have a beautiful husband or wife who will love you?
I have tried to live my life by doing what I love and doing it with complete, unjustified confidence. And when I fail at something, I can usually put it down to a lack of one of these two fundamental ideals.
My new dream is to become a brilliant strength and conditioning coach working to improve the lives and performance of people and athletes. Now I still get people telling me I can’t make any money doing this, and that I should probably get a more secure job, but here’s the thing; I’m going to be incredible at this.
Because why on earth wouldn’t I be?
George Studd Fitness Training