Versatility and Me

If the first fitness evaluation conducted in lab told me anything (and it did), it was that I am extremely one sided in terms of physical fitness. I learned that I am well above average in running and aerobic fitness in general, and very poor at pretty much everything else. This got me thinking, and because I’m constantly thinking about track, I instantly thought of versatility in track and field. Decathletes are individual athletes who compete in ten different track and field events over the course of two days. These athletes need to have the perfect combination of speed, strength, and stamina in order to succeed. They need to be muscular enough to heave metal throwing implements yet lean enough to run a (relatively) fast 1500. They must be skilled at all of the events.


Last fall, I took a class here at Colby on the myths and histories of the ancient Olympic games. Even at the earliest Olympic games, the pentathlon existed and the the winner was given the title as the world’s greatest athlete due to their astonishing ability to compete at a high level in all of the events. A decathlete needs to be able to run fast, throw heavy implements far, jump high, and have the stamina necessary to compete in distance events. While these athletes may have a couple of weaker events, they still have the ability to score well in these events and keep themselves in the hunt for the overall win. They are the most complete athletes.


The fitness testing conducted in lab last week gave me a newfound appreciation for the versatility of the decathlete and sparked my thinking on how versatility affects me in athletics, academics, and in the future. As this school year continues on, I am rapidly approaching the end of my sophomore year of college. In just a few short years I will be looking for a job. I believe that among other things, versatility is a huge factor in obtaining a job and succeeding in the working world. For example, if one job applicant can only do one, specialized job while another has a deeper skill set, then the applicant more likely to get a job offer (in my opinion) is the more versatile applicant.  This thought process fuels me to strive to make myself a better all around person by strengthening my weaker areas academically and socially.


Along with teaching me about versatility in physical fitness, making me aware of my physical strengths and weaknesses, and giving me motivation to become a more versatile and complete athlete, the original fitness test in the first lab session of BC176 also taught me, with some extra thought, to gain a new perspective on versatility in life in general. More importantly than improving myself physically, I’m realizing that I need to continue to improve myself in other areas in preparation for the competition in the “real world”. Thankfully, I think that I’m at the right school to do just that. But all this being said, a few extra inches in the V sit-and reach would be nice too.

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2 Responses to Versatility and Me

  1. dampbench says:

    As a track athlete, I’m sure you watched the Olympics this past summer. I sure did, and the most impressive athlete to me was decathlete Ashton Eaton. The versatility this guy possessed was absolutely amazing; he was hovering around Olympic qualifying times/distances in almost every event. Unfortunately, it seems like the decathlon only gets the attention it deserves every four years, when the Olympics roll around. Athletes in most professional sports are world-class performers in one or two components of fitness (e.g. football players are incredibly explosive), but Eaton is flirting with world-class in 10! There’s no doubt in my mind Ashton Eaton is the best all-around athlete in the world.

  2. ugogal says:

    This is the big advantage of a liberal arts education…you never know which of your skills will actually prove to be crucial in your next job, because you don’t really know where you’ll end up or what you’ll be doing. By taking a lot of different classes, you are making yourself well rounded and ready for the next challenge! Plus, you’ll be way more interesting to talk to at parties than if the only courses you took were in your major.

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