In my life I’ve gone through plenty of ups and downs and have always managed to come out fine. But in a world where everyone is expecting you to be perfect, isn’t fine really good enough? My name is Norris Frederick II and I’m an ordinary person who can do an extraordinary thing.
You wouldn’t expect me to be different than anyone else you come across every day just by looking at me; after all, we live in world full of unique and talented people. You couldn’t look at me and know that I can jump the height of your front door at home, or jump the length of a full fire engine. Or, that for the past 10 years of my life I’ve been ranked in the top 10 in the world for the men’s long jump and/or men’s high jump.
Because of this, athletics has been the thing that has defined me as a person. I never had a problem with it until I started receiving unrealistic input each day of my life from people who are not close to me. I am constantly being told how perfect I need to be: that I have to make sure I don’t eat fats, make sure I stay away from sugars, watch my carb intake, or don’t stay up too late at night because it will impact my training. These suggestions may seem simple-minded or even ridiculous - they don’t know me like I know myself, nor are they my coach, and it feels like other people are trying to control MY life, trying to make me into something I’m not.
On the other hand, every day I wake up, walk through my house, and take a look at my medals and photos. Proof of my accomplishments is all around me, hanging on the walls. It’s a great reminder that I am in control of my body, my training, and my diet. It may not be “perfect,” but I think I’m doing just “fine”, as long as I end the day pleased with my choices and decisions. I love being able to walk into a sold out stadium in a foreign country, being the center of attention while I compete, and standing on a podium while they place a medal around my neck as I’m fighting back tears. To me, that moment makes all of this worth it.
- Norris Frederick