December 22, 2009 by David Gillaspie
How often do you explain yourself each day? When is the last time someone asked you to give a two minute talk about you? Try it now. Find a watch and see how long it takes you to make a case for who you are.
In Hollywood a short description of what you are doing is called the ‘elevator pitch.’ If you see someone important in an elevator, you tell them the story you’re working on between floors. The idea is you don’t have time to tell everything, just the parts that make them want to know more.
In school a two minute telling is an oral report. In a history course I wrote about a racial incident before a high school play-off game. A city football team went down state and found sour old grandmas yelling at them while they got off the bus as if it was a ‘60’s voter registration march in Mississippi.
I explained my research methods in two minutes and handed in my paper. The student after me sang a two minute gospel song and handed in a page copied from a hymn book. We both got an A, but mine took more time out of class.
It’s no coincidence that a wrestling round is two minutes. That’s long enough to demonstrate who you are. In two minutes you’ve shown your opponent your level of conditioning, strength, and skill on the mat.
They know if you’ve done the running over Christmas break. They know if you’ve broken down your weight room workouts so you hit different muscle groups each day with enough rest to get stronger. They know if you’ve drilled.
You know the same about them.
What if your first match back pits you against a foe who looks like he warmed up by tearing the bumper off his car? No matter, you’ve done the work. You will pressure him until he breaks, then pin him. You will wear him down, watch him crawl to the down starts on hands and knees, and wonder how a guy can look so good yet be so out of shape.
More than that, you’ll be glad it isn’t you dragging around the mat like it’s all you’ve got.
Everyone who shows up to wrestle looking like a world beater isn’t one. There’s not enough metal in the earth to give awards to everyone who looks like they deserve one. At some point a trophy and a juice box given out for participation doesn’t mean as much as it did in third grade rec soccer.
You want more until you find out how hard it is to get what you want. Then you have to decide to do the work, or not.
Do you want a title to distinguish yourself when your wrestling resume blasts out through loudspeakers before a championship match? Do the work over Christmas and start winning tournaments in the New Year.
Do you need to prove that you belong on your wrestling team? Don’t miss a workout over Christmas so the teammates who are committed know you are too. Join the group who focus on winning every practice, winning every match, winning every argument with themselves when they feel like giving up. Those guys are called winners for a reason, and it doesn’t always show up on a score card.
Do you have a relative who isn’t as nimble as they used to be? A grandpa with a cane? An aunt with a walker? Remember that they were young once. They weren’t born with a halting gait, a dodgy hip, or an arthritic knee. Maybe they were once as springy as you, but didn’t wrestle. They didn’t use what they once had to maximum effect.
You can feel sorry for them, or remind yourself that nothing lasts forever, even good health. If the saying ‘use it or lose it’ sounds irrelevant, ask someone who’s lost it what they’d do over. The answer is ‘more.’
Will you run an extra mile? Do an extra rep? Spend another ten minutes on drills? Add them all together and it’s still a small thing. Even if you do the extras you might think it’s so minor it really doesn’t matter. It’s easy to forget the half hour more you do.
You won’t remember the extra cardio you did over Christmas break. You won’t remember an extra set of pull downs on the lat bar. You’ll forget about the extra high-C repetitions you did on the opposite side. They are little things.
None of it will matter until you raise your arm at the end of next tournament after a 3-2 win that might as well have been 16-0. Someone might remind you that little things all add up to something big, that one point is a small margin of victory, but a win in a big tournament is a big deal.
Who needs Christmas break workouts? Everyone. Do them to show you belong. Do them to give the fans in the stands a chance to live through you. Most of all, do Christmas workouts so you will escape in the final ten seconds of the last round; do them so you can counter an opponents final desperation shot; do them for a 3-2 win.
It’s your point, but it’s not a gift. Go get it over Christmas.