The grind

The greatest thing about Wayne Gretzky was his vision of the game. He was a master of passing the puck to where his teammates were going to be. Almost like seeing the future.
The other great thing about Wayne Gretzky was his execution. Usually, flawless. He wasn’t quite as pretty as Jaromir Jagr in his heyday, and he certainly wasn’t the bone-crushing force of, say, a Brian Leetch. Actually, I suppose he’s sort of like the Chris Spealler of ice hockey. He is most definitely the best of all time, according to most people.
Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.” – Wayne Gretzky
Yup. Success is about the grind, the suck, the pushing through when the going gets tough. It’s about making a plan so you know whereyou’re going, and sticking to it. Not rocket science. Success really isn’t.
It’s also about not making excuses. You screw up, you fall down, you dust your whiny ass off and get back up and keep going again. Mistakes are fine, they are necessary, they are good – they are how we learn. But it’s all about how we react to them. Make excuses and don’t change your behaviour, and, well, don’t be surprised if you make the same mistake again. I’ve said this before but I feel like often a lot of us have so much pressure (self-imposed and otherwise) to be perfect all the time, or to be the best in the room, or whatever, that we freeze. We’re so afraid of failure we are afraid to take the chances that we need to take if we are to succeed, or make any big breakthroughs.
This is what happened to me with the burpee workout. The workout was fine. A bit too fine; it was the end result that was not to my liking. My ankle wasn’t bothering me at all, but what happened was I took everyone’s advice to go hard (but not too hard) and just keep moving, but it turned out not to be hard enough … just like that row, I was so afraid of smashing myself that I left something on the table. The movement itself was OK – the jump was higher than I am used to jumping but not hugely so (we had to hit a target that was 6 inches higher than our max reach, and I was very strict here because you don’t get better by making the workout easier than it’s supposed to be). I only missed the target twice and had to re-jump. Not a biggie, though; I learned a lesson about how to do this workout and I’d probably get a few more reps if I had to re-do it but happily, I don’t. Finished with 104. At least I beat my shame level, right? AND I reiterated the lesson I learned at Fittest in Cape Town.
I did realise one other thing. I need to get way better with positive self-talk mid-workout. “This sucks, I’m not going to hit my target at this pace” or “Why are these taking so long? What’s wrong with my cycle time?” are not the right messages. “I can go faster” and “Every rep counts” is more like it, and I just wish I’d been thinking that thought between reps 40 and 80 when I was kind of out to lunch mentally. So …. Stuff to work on!
As with last year, loved the vibe in the gym during the workout. I actually originally wrote a bunch of whiny sh*t about a variety of things (how to cheat at 12.2, how my skinned knees hurt the next day, how I was getting sick already of over-analysis of the Open after just one week, how I sometimes just want to be normal again and eat bread & cheese without a care in the world). Oh, and my boring shopping expedition on Sunday. But I figured no one really cared about that stuff, and half the point of writing is just to get stuff out of your head, anyway, not necessarily to bore my readers.
Didn’t do too much exciting the rest of the weekend …. Got stuck with a bunch of needles so I looked like a human voodoo doll, had my muscles put back into place after all the limping, went to the beach, ate a lot of food, hung out with friends, went shopping. You know, the usual. Postponing my strength cycle for a week to let my ankle get all the way to 100%, and going to start playing with my diet a little bit more. But for now, stop procrastinating and get to my monstrous to-do list. This is a big week.
You know, oddly enough, Gretzky was never my favourite player. My favourite? Rod Brind’Amour. NOT the prettiest athlete. Not the best scorer. Not the softest hands (by any stretch of the imagination). What he was? The hardest damn worker on the team, a role model, a team player. In the ‘90s if you mentioned the word “grinder” which is a compliment for any non-highly-skilled hockey player, Rod Brind’Amour came to mind.
Plus, I had a bit of a crush on him. What can I say, I have some weird taste in men sometimes … and, ha! According to Wikipedia: “During his time at Michigan State, Brind’Amour would go from a game directly into the weight room where he would undertake a strenuous workout. His coach at the time said that Brind’Amour’s workouts became so intense that they would turn the lights out on him, and when that failed to work, they would padlock the room.”
I had forgotten about stories like that. I guess that’s part of why he’s my favourite.
  • “It’s good that you’re having thoughts like that. It means you’re normal.” – Charlotte
  • “It looks really bad right now because it has New Skin on it.” “No, it looks really bad!” – Ellie & Mandy


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