“The difference between a champion and someone who’s forgotten … is that a champion shows up”
I don't know if I can express the exact feeling I get when I hear those words over the speakers. It rings over and over in my head as I warm up and I play the same motivational speeches on youtube every day. Sometimes I blare it out at the gym and sometimes, it echoes quietly in my soul. Sometimes words and music is all we have.. and sometimes showing up is all we can give.
I had a rough week in training. To some, this is merely something to dust off but to most of us it is something to endure. Like many of you, a bad training session affects my mood, my outlook and even my resolution. I can sit here and tell you simple action items like “get over it”, “come back better next time”, “it’s just another day” but these are merely action items, how do we get here? What do we do? What can I do? I hear myself asking these very questions as I sit there and wallow in my emotions. I sit there and take note of all my aching bones and joints and wonder if things will get better. I walk around the gym after throwing my belt in a furious rage and ask myself if this is supposed to happen, if its normal. It is when the voice begin to whisper loudly, Why am I still here?
These ideas rush in and out of my heart as I take note of things. I can give you the speech of a coach or I can give you the words of a man in the trenches that is inching out day by day. Some days, weeks or even months are really going to suck man, they just will. Life’s variables or your broken body or broken heart or stressed out mind will tear and claw at your training and decay it. So what do we do? You show up. You show up because walking through those gym doors with the intent to kill, no matter the pain or doubt, is what a warrior does.. its what a champion does. Wounded, battered, and bloody the cornered wolf does not understand retreat… so why should I? It is not about ignoring injuries, pushing through career ending pain but instead, about showing up to your place of “work” and clocking in for another chance to be better than you were yesterday. Sometimes that is all I have in this world, sometimes it is all I need.
I had been giving this a lot of thought this week as my deadlift session went poorly and my elbows hurt so bad on press day I scratched off an entire push jerk routine. I asked myself what was the point or what is it that got me in The Axe on a muggy afternoon with the temperatures hitting close to 100 degrees. What is it that got me out of the car with a grimace as my knees cracked and the idea of failing another session sank into my heart. I realized that I was never graced with being a great winner but instead, being the best at not quitting, at not giving up, on never letting go of what was mine and where I belonged. Along with a laundry list of injuries and pain the gym, the ring, and training had brought the most beautiful things in life. It showed me how to win, to lose, to feel appreciated, to rage, to smile and as my Friend John would say, it taught me to be a better person for everyone around me. Where would I be today as a coach, leader, business man, son, brother, boyfriend and man without the lessons I learned walking in these doors and through the ropes ringside. And now, after a few sessions, months or years I was supposed to give up on her? I’m supposed to walk away now because I am not the on the mountain top she helped get me to? Here and now when we are in the thick of our hardest battle Im supposed to leave? NO, no thats not what champions do, its not what I do nor should it be what you do. You show up, even if it’s to touch the barbell and let her know you’ll be back. Even if its to smell the dank air of the gym or watch others train. It is to whisper to your mental demons that you are the storm, that today is not the fucking day to quit and that legacy, like all amazing adventures in life, will always favor the bold.
Sometimes words are all we have, sometimes walking through the door is all we have, sometimes endurance is all we have… and sometimes, not quitting is all we can do..
Never Stray from The Way