For as long as I can remember I have always enjoyed racing. It might have been that first summer day in the park as a kid where I got ribbons for climbing on the monkey bars; or the nature of racing itself that excites me. Sure I liked the prospect of “beating” other athletes but the reality of totally pushing myself was the real thrill. Racing has always motivated me to perform at my best.
Everyone races for different reasons. Some race for participation... others for the chance to show they are better than the rest... and some just enjoy the lifestyle/experience. My friend Dave Armour used to say “A good loser is a loser”... similar philosophy to the great football coach Vince Lombardi. While certainly humorous; I’m not sure if this is entirely true. However; enjoying and wanting to win definitely helps you perform better.
One thing that sticks in my mind regarding Competition Philosophy is a childhood hero Chuck Norris. Before you fall off your chair with laughter you should know that Chuck Norris -- aside from being a mediocre actor and the butt of hundreds of bad jokes -- was at one time the real deal. He won 6 world titles in open Karate Sparring against the best fighters in the world. Many of them much larger and stronger than himself. He was the Mark Allen of Martial Arts.
I used to wonder why Chuck Norris wasn’t scared going into competition. Not only was he not scared to fight; he looked forward to it. He said that he craved the chance to compete with top level fighters and see who was the best... quite simple... he was motivated by Desire... rather than Fear. It’s a pretty good model for any of us to follow.
Over the years I have gotten used to writing up a Race Report to send out for my athletes and friends following an event. They became a tool for teaching and learning... as a post-mortem for myself and others as well as hopefully light entertainment. After every race I believe one should look back as objectively as possible. Ask a few Questions -- 1) What went well? -- 2) What needs improvement? -- 3) How? -- 4) Why? If you can do this after every race; there will be no such thing as a Bad Race.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, ..., so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.Theodore Roosevelt