The Younger Brother

I was always the smart child in the family, not the athletic one.  My younger brother has and will always outshine me in any athletic discipline.  He has the typical athletic physique: tall, toned, and muscular.  When I tried playing lacrosse, he picked it up a year later and was just as good, if not better than I was.  We would race around our backyard as kids, and being the older, stronger brother, I assumed I would be able to outrun him.  Unfortunately that never happened.  I would be able to get a good lead for a few seconds with my longer strides, but soon enough he would be right there next to me and then pass me at the last second to win the race.

My preferred area was the academic realm where I could really put my brain to good use and outsmart him.  I never was outwardly competitive, but I would always look at his grades when no one was looking to compare against mine.  It made me feel better about being less fit knowing that I was doing better than him in school.  I tried getting high grades and lots of honors in grade school, but not to wow and impress my parents.  Instead I strived for these high goals because I knew that when he would take the class that he would not be able to do as well as I did.  So I waited four years until it was time for him to take the same class, and just as I predicted he did not do nearly as well as I had done just four years prior.  When I was younger I would rub this in his face and make him aware than I was clearly superior than he was in academics, but then he would come around and beat me yet again in a race in the backyard.

Years later as I began to mature and grow up, I realized that school was not about outshining your younger brother and that losing to your younger brother in a race was an acceptable loss.  I started to better understand my body and what it was built for, such as not sprinting, power sports and more long distance, endurance sports.  I discovered that running was a great release for me, and found myself going for longer and longer runs to help relieve stress and settle my mind.  And now that I am in college I feel like I understand my body more.  I know what to expect of my body when I push it to its limit.  I know that I need to take extra care with my ankles and knees.  And I can admit now that while my brother will always have me beat on the sports field, I will always have him beat in the classroom.

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2 Responses to The Younger Brother

  1. Gabrielle Donahue bballqueen says:

    Your blog was very interesting to read because I am your “younger brother.” Or younger sister, in my case. My older brother was the family genius, the “golden boy.” I looked up to him and admired his excellence in the classroom and his impressive musical talents. But I knew I had something he didn’t, athletic prowess. This comforted me in times of self consciousness or insecurity. Hearing from the opposite perspective is very fascinating for me. But this begs the question: how should certain people’s talents or gifts be celebrated? I have always been torn with this dilemma myself, because it seems as if the jocks are celebrated in stereotypical fashion as the “cool” kids and the really smart kids are celebrated in their own way by typically being successful in life and advancing with a nice career. However, are any of these talents truly credible? Are they simply genetically inherited? One thing I have always wondered: how much control do we REALLY have over our talents? It is no secret, as we are learning, that certain physiological builds are better for athletic performance. I live my life by the motto ‘hard work pays off’, but how far can it actually get you if you simply don’t have the genetic makeup? This is a dangerous question to ask one’s self.

  2. I can absolutely relate to your experience with your younger brother. My brother is two years younger than me and is our family’s token athlete as well. We were never really competitive with each other in sports as he really just kicked my ass in everything kinesthetic. He would quit a sport or leave a sport for a few years and come back as a starting player and team leader. I thought I did pretty well as a runner… until he joined track his junior year for one season and despite an injury, set multiple state and league outdoor track records and is ranked 40th in the nation for high school athletes in the 400m hurdles. I, like you though, am definitely more built for distance, and should my brother and I ever race each other for more than 10 miles, I feel like I could pull off a win.

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