Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Playing Like a Champion

Lots of little boys dream of being professional athletes.
Where I grew up, Chicago, we often dreamed of being baseball players,
just not with the hapless Chicago Cubs.

For me, though, the thought of being a professional athlete was often really scary.
I could not imagine standing in front of all those thousands of people and having to perform under that pressure. Even though as a professional speaker, I have done large presentations before (300 - 400 people) I still get the "butterflies". This is NOTHING compared to the feeling of having to sink the tournament winning putt, or score the overtime goal shot to win the Cup.
The pressure must be unbelievable. I have huge respect for those that can bear it.

The worst for me was to watch a batter fall into a slump. That's when you could really see their true character. You knew they didn't know why, but somehow ball and batt wouldn't meet. The last place they probably wanted to be was in the batter's box lining up, but they also know in their hearts that the batter's box was the only place their problem would ever really get solved.

The dojo can be a lot like this. The path is long, and has peaks and valleys. Sometimes we don't know why, and the blind faith in the training is all we have to guide us. Of course, the dojo is the only place these problems can be solved, too. We must keep the courage to continue training and trust that it will all become right over time. Our doubts will be replaced with the quiet confidence of achievement, and knowing, really knowing, that we CAN.

At the best of times, we students support each other and provide companionship along the path.
But never forget, that the answers can only come from your own training. Every part of you, mind, body, and spirit, has to come to an understanding; a Knowing. That can only happen with practice. Words alone will not suffice.

Hang in There. Before you know it you will be hitting home runs again.


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