Monday, May 17, 2010

Frustrations and Postive Outcomes...

Have you ever been in a position where no matter how hard you work and no matter how hard you try it is never enough?  I have!  I think what you do after those situations is more important than anything else.  You have 2 options at this point.  1) Go home sulk, complain, and be consumed by it or 2.) Understand the limitations of your body, what your gifts and ability are, harness the strengths and work the weakness.  Which option do you think I would recommend choosing?  The obviously correct answer...#2! 

I have a pretty significant height disadvantage and with tonight's WOD being rowing and running I knew it would be very difficult for me.  All day long I stressed about this WOD.  How am I going to be competitive in this event.  The answer is try my best, make up me time on the run if possible and do consistent work on the row.  I did this, stuck to my plan and went as hard as I could.  It was not enough.  There is no fairy tale ending tonight, no PR's, no great times, just an overwhelming sense of disappointment and frustration. 

I need to vent and give you all a bit of history.  Tonight was the first time in a long that I felt my short stature being a disadvantage and a hindrance.  I always knew that it was more difficult for me to row then the taller men and knew that the best rowers in the world are taller guys but that has never stopped me from hopping on a rower and going to work.  I was rowing next to some amazing athletes tonight who both have at 9 to 10 inches on me...maybe even a foot.  I was rowing an almost identical pace but was pulling 2 strokes for every 1 of theirs.  On top of this frustrating observation they finished each row 50 to 60 meters ahead of me and had a head start on the run.  When I was growing up I was always much smaller than my classmates.  In middle school I repeatedly had my head shut in the lockers.  I would be getting my books out and someone would kick me in the back and shut my locker.  The top would lock shut and my head would be stuck in the bottom.  I tried and tried to not let this happen but it wasn't enough so it just would keep happening.  At lacrosse practice my teammates would push me around and one guy pushed me so hard into a goal post that he chipped the teeth in the front of my mouth and then laughed at me.  I could not do anything...just deal with it. 

When I got to high school I tried out for football.  I was 90 lbs and short but I never gave up.  My coach told my team he would rather have 50 guys like me than the biggest strongest player because I had heart, I fought for every inch of ground I stood on, and never stopped trying.  That was the beginning of my transformation.  I started to have some confidence and started to believe in myself..."maybe being short and small wasn't that bad".  Again it was!  I got pushed and shoved into the football lockers, got spitballs shot into my eyes, stuff taken from me and this was all done by my teammates.  When I walked down the hall at school I often would get kicked or pushed.  One time a guy whose name I will never forget kicked me so hard in the back I flew into a coke machine fell down in front of a hall full of people and then he and his girlfriend stood over me and laughed.  I picked myself up and went about my business.  This happened until I was junior in high school when I finally was strong enough to stop people from hurting me on a daily basis.

Where is this going?  Tonight when I was at such a disadvantage I started to feel like freshman Patrick but the bully this time was me.  I was beating myself up after the WOD because I expected myself to do something that no matter how hard I train or work just isn't in my deck of cards.  This doesn't mean that I won't train it or work at just means I can't expect to row like the Olympians...I can only expect to row to the best of my potential. 

I talked with my Dad tonight because he too is small guy and has had to deal with this his whole life.  He said that being short is not fair but it is how God made you.  You have gifts that others don't and you are better for it.  You have worked your whole life to be the best you can even though most of your life your best has never been good enough.  I watched you work so hard, always giving more than others, and always putting in the extra effort and it has given you a lot.  He had a statement that really put it into perspective and it is funny..."you can't go up to a squirrel and ask it to lay an egg because you want an egg for breakfast".  He said "even if that squirrel wants to lay an egg for you no matter how hard it tries it won't happen".  I think what he meant was even if I want to be an amazing rower and to keep pace with my crossfit friends it won't always happen and no matter how hard I try it won't always happen.  He said take that effort and focus it on things that will make you a better athlete, don't always focus on your weakness.  It is important to train them but it is even more important to continue to train what you are good at. 

I still feel very defeated and frustrated but it will not take away from the rest of this week.  I will try even harder now in the rest of try out wods and will keep my chin up.  It will not be a failure if I know that at the end of the week I tried my best.  Perspective in the face of a challenge can often provide the most direct path to attaining the goal at the end of the challenge. 

I applaud all my friends at WCCF tonight for their out of this world performances.  I am proud of my effort tonight, I am proud of my frustration, but I am most proud of who I am and what I am made up.  I am made of patience, commitment, compassion, tenacity, understanding, and an undying will to keep working. 

"Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”
- Mario Andretti

                           My hound dog Mable.  She is unrelenting in her ability to be an amazing friend!


  1. Patrick,
    I am so inspired by you every day. I know this was a frustrating WOD. If you did the one from the affiliate cup competition, I know this even more because we did it (and I got my short butt kicked) last week! But, you're one of the most amazing athletes I've ever met. Go out and get after it the rest of the week.

    Here's a quote that I have lived by for many years: "All your life you are told the things you cannot do. All your life they will say you're not good enough or strong enough or talented enough; they will say you're the wrong height or the wrong weight or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this. THEY WILL TELL YOU NO, a thousand times no, until all the no's become meaningless. All your life they will tell you no, quite firmly and very quickly. AND YOU WILL TELL THEM YES."

    Show 'em what you've got!

  2. I heart Patrick.

    I'm glad that you see how badass you are.

  3. PC, yesterdays WOD was one of four against guys with twice your height in stroke. WOD's 2 and 4 were just built for you to knock out of the park, and we're all looking forward to seeing how you do.

  4. patrick, you're so awesome. keep your head up. i only wish you knew how many people you inspire. keep doing what you're doing. love ya!!!