Eager Eagles: That’s me and my friend & teammate, Christina. Last season, we were excessively eager. At our camps, we’d walk dive flows the night before. We’d quiz each other on formations. We’d show up an hour early to stretch and check our gear and mentally prep for training. We’d go home after jumping to do push-ups and squats to get in better shape. We made fun of ourselves and we started calling ourselves the Eager Eagles. Silly, yes. But who cares? When you’re over-eager, you’re either too enthusiastic or too unaware to care what others think. We laughed it off, joking. In retrospect, I think I probably felt compelled to make fun of being over-eager because rarely have I ever been rewarded for being over-eager.
Trying Too Hard
I have spent my whole life trying too hard and no one has ever thought it was cool.
In elementary, I tried too hard in P.E.; I remember sprinting hard every class so people knew I was the fastest kid in third grade. (I was.) In high school, I did too much; I was in band, show choir, school plays, speech for a season, basketball, soccer, science club and student council. I was valedictorian. I was student council president. Before we had a girls’ soccer team, I worked hard and was a starter on the boys team. When we got a girls’ team, I was the team captain. In short, I was definitely not cool; I tried too hard.
I tried less hard in college. I still did well, but I learned my lesson. If you’re going to be outstanding, make it look like you don’t care. Don’t be loud. Don’t show your passion. Don’t be opinionated or demanding or overly enthusiastic. Don’t overwhelm people.
I kept trying hard when I got my first job and I was anxious to show how motivated I was. I scheduled Lunch and Learns. I tried to take on more responsibilities. I wanted to automate tedious tasks to improve efficiency. I remember being told to pump the breaks, to stop demanding that I be allowed to climb high or grow fast. I remember feeling mad when I all I wanted was to be able to try hard, to pour my energy into something. But then I remembered that people find it off-putting when you try too hard. So, I laid off a little.
But then, Skydiving..
Now, I found my home. I found my community where I CAN try too hard and I am supported for it. I found my people, inspiring people, who also try too hard. They give a shit, and they are over-eager and enthusiastic. Their eyes sparkle when they talk about the challenges ahead of them next season. They exude passion, wanting to be the best.
I have found a group of ladies, who, when they talk about their skydiving dreams and goals, a fire burns in their eyes. They are chasing their goals and they are trying too hard. They are eager and they are hungry and they are going to achieve it. These are my people. These are my women. I respect them and want to be like them. I think maybe I am one of them. They’re my community, spread across the world and we’re a special bunch. We are Eager Eagles and we give zero fucks that we care too much. Or that we yell too loud. Or that we try too hard. Or that we show up too early or ask too many questions. We don’t care that we exude passion for what we’re doing.
So Now, I’m Diving In
I’m back to trying too hard. I found a place where I can lead, and organize, and plan, and scheme. And it’s okay. It’s okay to dump all my passion into this stupid sport. It’s acceptable for me to spend time and energy organizing events, teaching people, encouraging others. I don’t get told that I’m too much. But, even more important, I love this sport so much I wouldn’t care and I definitely won’t stop.