In 2016 my son’s football team went undefeated! They were the Champions of their division. They busted their butts all year, were in great shape and most importantly, the team was in sync like a well-oiled machine. They were prepared for their Pacific Northwest Regional play-off game and were ready to kick butt. I remember the kick off for the first quarter like it was yesterday. With my eyes fixated on my son, I watched them rocket down the field in perfect formation. Xander got low and knocked one the opposing team’s players back 2 or 3 yards. I was sure of it, we were going to win.
Not only did we not win, we got our butts handed to us. The final score ended up being 28 – 6 and we did not score until the 4th quarter. How often does this very circumstance happen in competitive sports? Or heck, how often does it happen in life? All the time! How many of the athletes in the recent Winter Olympics trained and sacrificed for years, or even decades, only to not go home with a medal? You can be sure it was a lot more than those that went home with a medal.
It is simple numerical logic that if you decide to compete, there will be times you will lose. You are never guaranteed victory in anything. To quote Rocky “The world (and competition) is not sunshine and rainbows. ”If you think that your hard work, good mind set, visualization and perseverance is going to make victory inevitable, then the very nature of competition (and life) is going to “beat you to your knees and keep you there”. Yet, it seems like a very common mindset in our sport/ community of bodybuilding and powerlifting that there is no losing or defeat. Or at least, it is rare to see someone admitting defeat with positivity. It’s almost like people think that hard work guarantees us success. It seems there is always moaning because someone didn’t get what they deserved or “worked so hard for.” A common example is when people try to lessen the accomplishments of those who did succeed. If an athlete did not get the placing they wanted, then they were a victim of unfair judging. Or, those that were awarded better placings cheated and are on anabolic drugs. It’s also quite common to see this on social media, even when there isn’t a competition to be had! But, based on the comments you would think a simple bench press video was the world championships and everyone somehow qualified, considering how many comments you’ll find about how the lifter is cheating by using an arched back! Someone posts a picture of their physique, and you’ll see plenty of comments about how their muscularity or leanness was only attainted because they are on something. Sometimes it’s much more subtle, and you’ll see accomplishments disparaged because they are not hitting parallel on a squat or because they are pulling sumo on deadlift. Why is this?
Fortunately, neither my son nor any of his team mates reacted this way when they lost their regional play-off football game. As the game was slipping away the competitive fires were showing in each player, coach, and even in us parents. Sure, we were all upset, but when all was said and done, and 4 quarters of football ended, there were no accusations of cheating or foul play. We lost! They beat us! There was a handshake and a “congrats” at mid field, a few tears were shed because an awesome season had to come to an end, and that was it. It’s my wish this kind of behavior was more prevalent.
Think about this the next time you didn’t succeed at something you were trying to accomplish, or when you are whining about your poor placing, or the fact that the judges did not give you three white lights, or when someone’s total or Wilks score is better than yours on any given day. Take a second and stop going down the low road. Simply shake their hand or take your licks and get back to it. They won and you lost. There is nothing more to it than that. The next time you are scrolling though Instagram and see a power lifter bench pressing an amazing weight, either just scroll on by or comment “good job” as opposed to commenting that they are cheating because of the massive arch they have which you don’t have. Let’s be real…they can do that shit and you can’t. Fortunately, that doesn’t make you less of an athlete or hard worker. When you see a muscular athlete posting up a selfie showing off their hard work, again just scroll on by. It’s better just to say nothing at all than to try and make yourself feel better (which often times makes you look a fool) by accusing them of using drugs, prohormones, half-natty lighting, filters, or the like. They have that physique and you don’t. To make an analogy, just because there are 10,000 humans out there that can dunk a basketball and you can’t, that doesn’t mean you don’t work hard and it doesn’t make them better than you. Screaming and crying because they have an advantage due to their height is a waste of time and energy and only puts negativity into the world. Who the hell cares, you can’t do anything about it any way. Finally, for goodness sake don’t post up in your “status update” that life is so unfair because you worked so hard and didn’t get what you were after. Like I said, there was no guarantee to begin with. Simply get to back to work because while hard work often times doesn’t necessarily pay off, it’s the journey and struggle that’s makes hard work fucking great any way. With enough hard work, time and perseverance, hard work WILL pay off eventually with a big win in some way, shape or form!