The other night my neighbor and I watched the movie ‘Deadpool’. I’ll have to admit-as much as I like Ryan Reynolds and all-this was a bit rough to watch; lots of blood and even more vulgarity (that and comics have never really been my thing), but it was oddly impossible to look away from once the story got going and at times it was freakin’ hilarious. For those who haven’t seen it (spoiler warning*), the protagonist Wade Wilson becomes ‘Deadpool’ by being subjected to intensely stressful situations over and over again until he finally mutated and gained his powers. You’re probably starting to wonder “now what does this have to do with endurance sports?”….read on and you’ll see.
A little background first: So I’ve been struggling with this lower leg thing for a bit and have been running in the pool almost every day (wishing I had Deadpool’s healing powers). Running around in small little circles with bad music playing in the background gives me a lot of time to think. The other day I was deep in a Pfitzinger’s Pool run workout and I began thinking how the aforementioned film related to the psychology of endurance. I told you I have had a lot of time to think!
So to give more of the movie away, Wade Wilson undergoes underground testing and basically torture with the goal of gaining super powers. Of course, like any Marvel Hollywood creation, it’s never that simple, but as athletes, there’s some fun analogies we can take from America’s favorite anti-hero, because, let’s face it: we all want to become stronger and more powerful. Luckily, there’s no evil intentions behind our transformations and we’re in charge of how much we want to “mutate”: NOTE play nice and keep it nonviolent and non extreme…it’s Hollywood after all! Okay, now that I’ve given my little disclaimer, let’s get to the topic at hand-
-In order for mutations to take place, chatty Wade gets put in a number of very stressful situations-all of which he cracks jokes and pokes fun at the situation. In the end with another fight scene that grossed me out, he comes out on the other side really strong. We don’t get mentally tougher without being subjected to (controlled) stressors.
-Speaking of cracking jokes and laughing through situations, perhaps that’s helpful when we’re wanting to quit to make light of even the most trying of situations. Take the recent Ironman Texas race for example- these athletes were subjected to heat, humidity, rain, wind, thunder, and hail. Many I saw on the course while getting the beat down from the storm were smiling and laughing at the absurdity of it all. You make it through that, you bet you’re a tougher athlete for it! Staying positive is always a good idea when in a stressful situation.
-Perseverance. So Deadpool’s intentions were deviant to say the least, the dude never quit until he got what he wanted~you know, revenge and his girlfriend back. As athletes, we can become our super-selves by using adversity to our advantage and not giving up. Forces outside of us will try to impede our progress but just keep going. Just don’t resort to violence in getting what you want ;).
-Healing an injury. It’s a bummer and a challenge, but like a superhero, you can use the time off to make some mutations of your own. Get really freaking strong, build an unshakable core, fine tune you form, etc. I’m trying to do this right now and am experiencing little apprehension upon returning to terra firma.
So there you have it, using comic book characters as examples for athletes! Bottom line is this: we can’t turn away from challenges and stressors if we expect to become the best version of ourselves, so why not try and use situations to be ‘super’?! Go be your own hero:)