Thursday, April 21, 2016

My Emotions Come Out In Training, Not The Event

Tears come from the heart and not from the brain.-- Leonardo Da Vinci

I hear all the time about championship teams. Many of them exhibit what seems to be tears of joy upon winning a title. This is easy to believe but many championship teams will also say that they experience a feeling of relief. It doesn't matter which sport or business or even child rearing, when the goal is accomplished, there is an overwhelming feeling of relief. Success is attained through countless hours trying to get there and the expectation of success after such expectation isn't always pure joy.

A great deal of my emotional breakdowns have occurred while I am out on the road in the rain, snow, heat, or hills. The impulse to quit is even stronger in practice because so few people are watching. It is easy to quit because there is less on the line. It is easy to quit because you always have tomorrow... not really. There aren't tons of folks hanging out on the side of the road with clever and witty signs to motivate you. There are no people in the library telling you to keep going if you need to study. Pushing through when there is no stage to stand on is infinitely harder than performing for an audience.

When I cross the finish line I raise my hands and I usually kneel over to finally stop running after 4 hours. Victory is victory but 6 months prior I had to fight through moving form state to state or any number of issues that may arise. At Zero Dark Thirty there are a million thoughts parading through your noggin that will add considerable weight to your journey. Doubt creeps in. You ask yourself why are you doing whatever it is you are doing.

Glory comes in the spotlight but the every day grind of hours in the batting cage, in the library, on the roads, reading stock charts, playing the piano, and working late goes unseen. It actually bothers me a little bit when a new success comes around and folks say that they came out of nowhere. That us highly unlikely. That person probably toiled away in the basement to be at peak condition when they had to take a shot.

When I practice I have to look deep into who I am and where I want to go. One of my favorite athletes of all time, Barry Sanders, never celebrated after a touchdown. Jerry Rice had a belief after a touchdown to behave as though you've been there before. Kawhi Leonard barely pumps a fist. These are all people who are at the very pinnacle of their respective professions. The cramps and throwing up and the drenched tee shirts will squeeze everything out of you. I've pumped my fist more after tough runs in training than I have at the end of marathons.

When I take off from a plateau in practice it is exhilarating. I came home one morning after a 12 mile run which was my best ever and I felt like I won a championship. Kanye West referenced in one of his songs, "...empty bottles of No-Doz..." That is the work he did to win awards and make what many consider to be good music. 3am in a studio or analyzing a company isn't what anyone signed up for so the glorious moments are remembered by the masses but the Glory Getters remember the tears shed in the dark.

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