|Orrin Whaley completing a Snatch in competition a few years ago.|
Here in the United States the collegiate football season is winding down and this is the time of the season when the contests become very important. Watching football over the Thanksgiving holiday is a widespread American tradition. At least for the men, their wives are often out shopping for Christmas while the husbands sit in front of the TV. Crazy world. Anyway, this weekend there were several amazing examples of how maintaining enthusiasm and hope led to success when victory seemed impossible. Auburn was down 27 points at half-time and seemed to have nothing going and came back to beat a really talented Alabama team. Boise State was beaten by Nevada after leading by 24 points, and of course our Cougars gave up a 13 point lead after 3 quarters to fall 17-16 to our rival Utes. I've say, my hat's off to the Utes this season, they didn't quit when we had them beaten. They played to the very end and won it on the last play.
This weekend really reinforced the adage uttered by the great American philosopher, Rocky Balboa,"It ain't over until it's over." (I think he was actually quoting Yogi Berra, another great philosopher. "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded.") At any rate, as long as there is a spark of enthusiasm, there is hope.It seems to me that they go together. Enthusiasm is the embodiment of hope, while hope sparks enthusiasm, and they feed one another. I received an e-mail this morning from an old friend who stated that he has "more enthusiasm than intellect." As I thought about that, it reminded me that enthusiasm is the catalyst for great performance.
What I love about throwing is that it only takes one good throw. As long as the thrower doesn't give up mentally, he has a chance. Bad timing, off balance, foul, all can be corrected on the next attempt if the throwers doesn't allow it to get into their head and dampen their enthusiasm and hope. Last month my son was talking with me about lifting and he said that he much preferred Weightlifting to Powerlifting as Weightlifting required greater technical skill and therefore more options for improvement.
He mentioned that when you get buried by a heavy squat, there is not much hope for success on a repeat attempt. Sure there are times when a technical fault may be corrected, but usually the problem in a lift like that is pure strength. You either have it or you don't. After getting buried, it is hard to muster enthusiasm or hope for another try. In the snatch however, there are many variables and you have much more hope for success after a missed attempt. Little did we know at the time, but his opinion would be tested soon. The next week we were entered in a Weightlifting meet and he missed his 1st attempt in the Snatch. He had never missed an opener before so I wondered how he would react. He told me that it was too light, but I didn't see it that way and had him repeat. It was a weight that should have been easy as he had routinely done it in training and more. He missed the 2nd attempt also. The problem was timing, not strength. Hope and enthusiasm were still alive. We focused on staying over the bar longer and being patient and he made his 3rd attempt easily and used the momentum to PR in the Clean and Jerk. The throws are similar, keeping a clear head, keeping enthusiasm and hope, one can make corrections and pull out a good throw in spite of a bad start.It ain't over until it's over. Enjoy the journey.
One of the great competitors of all time!
4 Olympic gold medals!