Saturday, May 21, 2016

When Your Best Isn't Good Enough

As children we are taught that if we dream it, we can do it.  Give it your all, do your best, and you will succeed.

Racing teaches us that this, at least a good portion of the time, is absolutely not true.  There will be many days where your best simply will not cut it.  The reasons and excuses are myriad, but to race is to learn to fail.  Sometimes spectacularly.  Sometimes painfully.  It is not an easy or comfortable way to live, but for those who would seek the victor's laurels, it is the only way.

Many years ago an old racer told me not to be in a hurry to get my first win.  When I pressed him on his statement he replied, "Because once you win, nothing else will do.".  He was right.  As soon as all the work pays off with the highest reward, that is the only goal.  Not a "good showing" or "respectable" finish or new personal best, these become like a slap in the face.  It is the win that matters, and you begin to ask yourself exactly what you are willing to do to get it.

How much am I willing to risk, to spend, to practice, to push myself?  How much sleep am I willing to lose going over and over what needs to be done?

These are the questions that force us to know ourselves intimately, because the game of racing is largely a mental one.  Elaborate plans and preparations have to be made well in advance, and then chucked out the window the millisecond it becomes obvious they will not work.

Believe with the unwavering faith of a fanatical adherent that you will be the best on any given race day or you are beaten before the thing even starts.  Go fast enough to leave doubt behind.

And when, as she is often wont to do, our cruel mistress decides to dole out the bitter, slow acting poison of defeat rather than the sweet nectar of victory, what are we to do?  We can quit.  Or find out what we are really made of.

Hold on guys, I think I have to pee!

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