Jogging around the court a hundred times and then planting rice

Jogging around the court a hundred times and then planting rice

I remember that during my high school basketball days, our after-school training started with stretching, then jogging around the basketball court one hundred times, then doing footwork drills that ended with the dreaded “planting rice”.

I recall the early weeks when I was still getting used to the endurance drills. I won’t sugarcoat it – there were many times when I could feel my vomit creeping up my throat. My vision felt blurry. In those moments, it felt like inhaling all the oxygen in the world cannot satisfy my deflated lungs.

It felt like I was punishing myself. Imagine a 7am to 4pm class schedule followed by trainings that lasted until 8pm. If my more athletic teammates struggled, what more for me? I was never the most athletic in my team; so what I lacked in athleticism, I had to make up in terms of willpower and mental fortitude.

But those challenges were really instrumental in instilling discipline in me. There is something about pushing one’s self to the limit in any kind of endeavor. It is transformative because we get to know our selves without any pretentions. We get to see our ugliest versions, eyes almost white with fatigue, sweat and tears indistinguishable, muscles feeling the burn, and the mind not able to entertain any distraction because the present is all that mattered.

It is good that we are more aware of mental health and holistic well-being. Maybe the next step for us is to be more courageous in pushing our mental health to the limits akin to how student-athletes grit through training.

We keep jogging a hundred times then planting rice, again and again, persisting, because holistic growth is never convenient but always fulfilling.

Luke 18:1-8. ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’


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