Locker Rooms are Sacred Places

I have at least a million locker room tales that range from heart-warming to flat-out hilarious. Some are one-liners that make me laugh and some are emotional stories that offer wisdom beyond years. I would love to blog them and share them with the world but I can’t bring myself to do it. I have thought about it for a long time. I’ve noted the stories as they have happened, but I can’t bring myself to publish them. See, anyone who has spent any amount of time in a locker room knows that they are sacred places.

As an athlete, I have spent a lot of my life hanging out in locker rooms. Playing sports for as long as I can remember it is a sacred place that is both feared and revered. Dreams are realized or shattered on our chosen fields of battle, but it is in the locker room that we let the reality and emotions of those battles out. They hold the dreams of every athlete that walks through the doors.  The excitement and nerves that accompany competition. They have seen the blood, sweat and tears of athletes at the highest peak and the lowest valley.

Pre-game or pre-workout. The locker rooms are full of preparation and pep-talks. Going through our routines and rituals in meticulous fashion knowing that we need the methodical preparation to fuel our performance.

Post-game or post-workout. A time where an athlete can be raw. Feel the emotion of the competition, be it against another team or against themselves. A time where they can reflect on their performance and compose themselves to go out and face a world that holds so many of our critics.

As a young woman, just 30, in a world that is vying for our time and attention, I find my peace post-workout in the locker room. It is a moment in my day when I have taxed my mind, body and emotions and can now sit. With my phone locked away and free from distractions I can think. No texts, no phone calls, no emails, no tweets. My morning locker room crowd runs the gamut in age and life experience but one thing is constant, we are all devoted to be at that place in time every morning. Between the hum of blow dryers you can hear the buzz of women who see each other every morning yet catch up like old friends. In the cold-plunge my mind (and breath) escapes me and I think of nothing other than the cold down to my bones. In the steam room I sit, the heat enveloping tired muscles. It is in these moments I have had some of my biggest epiphanies and thought up some of my best blog topics. When I leave, I say goodbye to these women whose last names I don’t know, but whose stories and snippets of conversation are full of wisdom and humor.

5:02 AM comes early and sometimes, I dislike it, but what drives me is the feeling I know I will have the minute I sit on the bench in front of my locker. Drenched in sweat and a Champion. I become invigorated. Ready to face the day.

Cheers, Dez

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