A parody of my last post by my friend, Eric Hankins - teacher extraordinare and one of the funniest people I know. Too bad I can't post the original - alas here's the toned down version.
Enhance your Weaknesses, Vol. 197
As time goes by, I find myself contemplating what it takes to be a failure as an athlete. I have trained with the best: Marek "My Waist Size is Smaller Than My Wrist" Kotrly; Dave "Could Anyone Lend Me Some Money" Dohnal; and John "I Will Be Wearing Adult Diapers Under My Spandex Skin Suit At The Nursing Home" Coyle to name a few.
In the book. "We Are All Failures" by Miguel inotrain, he makes a great point to say that every athlete has specific weaknesses that can be only appreciated by the athlete himself. I maintain that there are four attributes that can make a for a truly terrible athlete.
- Lack of Motivation
- Substitutional Training
- Deadbeat Parents
The first of these, Lack of Motivation, is something that I can relate to and as I reflect on my cycling career 20+ years ago, this is something that really comes to surface. I remember my coach, the infamous Dr. Charles Kotrly, would yell at our team about sacrifice and being self motivated. He maintained that consistent success is determined by consistent commitment and the desire to win will dominate at a critical time when an athlete is wavering on staying home and venturing out into the elements to train all day. This lack of motivation is something that I not only had...I treasured. When I think back to those rainy, windy days, I would think I should be on the bike, but then I contemplated how comfortable I was and realized getting lapped out of a race was well worth staying on the couch. I would envision throwing my hands up, crossing the finish line in first place or being the last guy across the line. Being a couch potato was well worth getting dropped in a race.
The second, Substitutional Training, is something that I was very good at doing. I still remember looking out my window for Dave Dohnal to go cycling past my house while playing Atari. While it might have made a difference between standing on the podium at the next race versus being fully changed with an ice cream cone in hand to cheer on the rest of my team because I got lapped out, three laps into the race, I still considered my substitutional activity to be worthwhile. My max heart-rate and VO2 might not have equated to the same outcome as leaving the house and hooking onto Dohnal's wheel, but scoring my personal best on Pong was well worth skipping the training ride.
The third, Diet, is very important to failing. There is no doubt that plenty of fruit and veggies along with a protein diet will make you strong, but consider how much more impressed we are of seeing the likes of my brother, Jonny "I look like I Am In My Third Trimester" Hankins pedal all the way across Wisconsin a few summers ago. I actually look at fat guys with envy. They have to work that much harder than everyone else. I can remember how much I enjoyed an ice cream sandwich at races while everyone else was eating bars that tasted like cardboard and drinking energy drinks that looked and tasted like urine. Eat like crap, get crap results. It might not have been the biggest factor in my dismal performance, but it sure didn't make me any better.
The last is something that is probably the single most important - Deadbeat Parents. My divorced parents were awesome. I think they went to a few sinusitis dad!and managed to not attend one speed-skating race. When I was 8, my dad was rarely around according to my lovely mother who spent all her free time at the Unitarian Church conversing with middle aged hippies. Whether it was talking to other ladies who shared books on astrology or how to make a casserole that turns your stool into something that looks like a yellow Baby Ruth laced with celery, my mom was always about enjoying life more than winning anything in it. My mom would go to my cycling races and spend the entire event trying to get some random spectator signed up for Amway. Meanwhile, the referee is blowing the whistle at her idiot son to get out of the race because he was so far behind. To this day I remember coming up behind my mom while she was writing her phone number down for some rehabilitated inmate and she was always like "oh Eric, isn't your race still going on?" Then there was my dad who was always offering ways I could improve my performance on the drive home with a cigarette dangling from his lip. Blowing an entire pack of cigarette smoke in my face while preaching his ideas on how to improve performance. Thanks for helping me win a certificate for asthma and
Stay tuned, more to come...