Whenever I go grocery shopping, magazines in the checkout aisle tell me to “Lose 30 pounds in 30 days,” “Get a flat tummy “or” Build a better butt.” By the time I check out, I’m slightly depressed about my body and ready to eat the Snickers bar I picked up at the register. That won’t be the case this week when I see ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue on newsstands.
Instead of telling us how to morph our bodies into a waif-like societal norm, the Body Issue teaches us to worship the bodies we were given, no matter how bulky, thin or muscular they may be. It relays the message that our bodies are high-performance vehicles with tremendous power under the hood and the outside paint job is just a minor detail. Let’s give it up for all the Body Issue athletes for showing us that a winning body comes in many dimensions.
As someone with an athletic frame who has a hard time finding pants that fit my sprinter’s thighs, I want to thank athletes like Aja Evans for representing a different body type. Her powerful stance and muscular legs behind the bobsled let me know I probably won’t ever have the thigh-gap or popsicle-shaped thighs that many people covet, and that’s OK. My current shape allows me to run a 9:30 mile and that looks good in any pair of jeans. Body Issue cover athlete Prince Fielder summed up the message of the Body Issue best when he said:
“You don’t have to look like an Under Armour mannequin to be an athlete. People probably think I don’t even try to work out, but I do. Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you can’t be an athlete. And just because you work out doesn’t mean you’re going to have a 12-pack.”
The Texas Rangers slugger looks like he’s smuggling a beach ball under his skin but that body made him a two-time Home Run Derby winner and five-time All-Star. I’ll take that type of performance and fame over washboard abs any day.
Thank you, Body Issue athletes, for lowering your guards so we can raise our self esteem.