I remember when I was wrestling there was a moment unlike any I had ever had before in my life. Prior to any match I would be so nervous and anxious that I was choking back the vomit. My name and weight class would be called and I would take my first step onto the mat. At that exact moment the nervousness and anxiety disappeared. My senses heightened and became extremely focused. I could no longer hear the crowd, feel the temperature of the room, or see outside to circle of the mat...I was focused. I knew that only one of two things was going to happen...I was going to beat my opponent or he was going to beat me. I always liked the first option more. I could feel the mat sink under my feet, feel the sweat roll down my back, my muscles tighten, and knew that I was ready for battle. Across the mat from me was 1 person and I knew he wanted to beat me. We both put our toes on the line, looked eye to eye, shook hands, and then we were off. Six minutes of fighting, bleeding, and undying will to win.
During my last year of wrestling I had 33 wins and only 3 losses. Those losses destroyed me...I was beaten. I repeat...I was beaten but I was not out of the battle. Nothing motivates you like the taste of defeat. I never wanted to have that taste in my mouth ever again. After those losses I would spend an extra hour a day shooting take downs, stand ups from the bottom, and reversal techniques. I would not be beaten again.
Never in my life was there a more real experience than when I was wrestling. There was no way out, no one to save me, no one to blame...it was only me and my will to survive and conquer. I am not sure how many people in this world have this type of experience but an experience like this carves a deep scar on your soul. It gives you character, work ethic, and determination. After I finished my wrestling career I searched and searched for another experience like this and I could not find one. Where would I find a battle where I always knew the exact outcome like that in wrestling...you win or you don't.
CROSSFIT! This is where I found that feeling. Now I know what you all are thinking...how can you beat weights or how can they beat you. It is more than that. I have one opponent now and it is myself. Every time I step onto an Olympic lifting platform there are two options...I am going to hit the lift or I will fail at the lift. I never want to fail at a lift no matter the weight. Again it is that awful taste of losing. This motivates me to hit the lift, pull hard from the ground, drop fast, catch strong, and stand with confidence. Every time I stand with weight over my head it feels great. It is as great of feeling as pinning someone in wrestling. I am the winner and no one can take that away from me. If you try I will beat you and you will go away the loser and hurt. This applies to the WOD's as well. I am not as concerned with times as some people are. I am concerned with the outcome, the feeling at the end. Did I give it everything? Did the WOD beat me...it never will, I will never lay down on the floor after a WOD, and I will always have a smile. Just like walking off the mat...always with a smile...even if it is full of blood.
I hope that all of you have a moment like this, a chance to live in the moment. When you start your next WOD, step onto the platform, or compete in your next challenge listen for the silence, the smell of the weight plates, the feel of the steel bar in your hand, and the beautiful agony that you are about to experience.
If you can't imagine this or don't experience this I feel sorry for you. I hope everyone someday finds this in their training. 3,2,1...Deep breath and go...no one but yourself to battle...who will be the champion?
"More enduringly than any other sport, wrestling teaches self-control and pride. Some have wrestled without great skill - none have wrestled without pride.”
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3 years ago