In the world of competitive sports, there are names for just about everything. What happened last night to my Huskies is what is widely known as a good old fashioned butt kickin'. As administered by the Stanford Cardinal. It was swift, thorough and painful. We were embarrassed on National TV and this morning our rear ends (not to mention wide-outs and tight ends) are still a little raw. The sting is still here. One word singularly and succinctly sums it up: Ouch.
So where do we go from here? Toss in the towel, give up, surrender, pretend that it wasn't as bad as it looked, or?
Or, perhaps, use it as a gauge, accept the reality of the here and now, isolate the weak link(s), re-commit to improvement, let it go and get on with the business at hand. You know, learning from mistakes, moving forward, enduring.
With all due respect, and a LOT is due to Stanford, here is the take away: When it seems like you don't own a pot to piss in nor a window to throw it out of, or you feel like you are stripped to the bone of energy, fight and motivation, keep going. Simple: Just keep going. Move out of the current place of despair, away from hopelessness and towards the light, one step at a time. It will get better. IF YOU WANT IT TO AND IF YOU ALLOW IT.
Ah, so finally we bridge the football to triathlon metaphor. I have done both. I have had my fanny kicked on the field more than once. It smarts. I have also been so absolutely emptied and devastated on the long course that curling up fetal and sobbing for mercy seemed the only way out. But it isn't. There are options. Solid ones, practical ones, effective ones. But they require a few vows. Such as:
I promise to train with focus, dedication and consistency.
I promise to rest and recover properly.
I promise to eat right.
I promise to stay balanced, flexible and compassionate.
I promise to stay in the present moment. Not obsess over the past or worry about the future.
I vow to do what ever it takes to reach my (our) goals.
I vow to be totally prepared come race (game) day.
I vow to give my best on that day.
I vow to play (race) with joy, presence and gratitude.
And, lastly (and perhaps most importantly):
I promise to take the lessons learned from game day (race day) into my next training session (practice) to better myself in all necessary ways, to return to the field (course) as scheduled and IMPROVE.
Do this my darling Dawgs (athletes) and you will become champions.
And that stinging sensation on your caboose will fade from memory, replaced by something a little more respectable. Make that a LOT more respectable.
One last fact: Every champion in any sport has had their butt kicked prior to being crowned. It is part of the process. A BIG part. The facts is that some people never get up, get over or get on. There is a name for them too.