When I was learning about surfing in the ’90’s, I remember asking my boyfriend (now husband) about a particular surfer. I asked him if she was good. His answer was: “she charges.”
That was pretty much the biggest compliment you could give a surfer. I pressed him to find out its meaning. “She charges” means she doesn’t hesitate, she goes out in the biggest waves, she throws herself into it with confidence. She probably wipes out and may not always win but it’s about her attitude towards her sport. That’s what earns her respect in her community.
Letting go of hesitation
I bring this up now having recently spent a portion of the weekend with four nine-year-old boys. There are some redeeming and some not so redeeming qualities among boys of this age group. One admirable quality I picked up on though was that their actions reflect the very meaning of this term I learned in the 1990’s. I admire them for that.
They do not hesitate or ponder consequences. Nor do they consider alternate options. Instead, they charge forward in everything they do with energy and passion. They are not always graceful or skilled or particularly athletically talented but that doesn’t dampen their enthusiasm. They do everything at full throttle.
But by this definition, could someone who “charges” be viewed as being thoughtless or irresponsible? Maybe. But I respect the quality of people who go for it — regardless of their sport of choice and whatever obstacles they may have in thriving at it.
Runners who charge
Speaking about running specifically, a runner who exudes the attitude of one who “charges” is someone who may never be noticed by the record books. That however doesn’t stop them from going for it every time. In workouts and in races, these people are in the moment and working for their own internal rewards. I can spot them. They’re usually not the disciplined, athletically gifted, methodical runners at the front of the pack. They’re somewhere in the middle, working as hard as they can, charging with everything they have towards the finish line.
This term has stuck with me. I like chargers. If surfers and kids can be chargers, so can 40-year-old runners like me. Let it not be said about me that I am consistent, disciplined, steady, smart, fast or strong. I would rather it be said about me that I charge.