Getting after it,
Feet turning over,
Lungs accepting cool air,
Gravity being denied,
Friction a partner,
Not an obstacle
Leaving our little group
Flying through a conversation
Barely able to explore
Why people make excuses
For shortsighted effort
Where the pain and suffering
Make for excuses too easy
To explain away
Hard work.

That’s what I learned this morning,
There cruising up Sickle,
Letting my competitive nature rise
In a way an old person like me
Would probably be advised to deny,
All in an effort to chase down
A couple of guys
Who chose not to walk
At the top of the hill.
The game was to get there,
Not pass or win,
Just to know
I could
Work hard.

Don’t say, “Calm down,”
Who we are is who we are,
The way we act,
Is who we are,
And I’m competitive,
Wanting to do my best,
Living in a culture where failure
Is sort of accepted,
So far as I “feel good” about it,
But I hate to lose
Because I think I didn’t work hard enough,
Unless of course, the situation or the opponent
Just kicks my ass outright.
I can live with that.

For a moment,
Because I don’t want that on me, Ricky Bobby,
I want to know I’m doing my best,
Pushing to the point where a little hill like Sickle
Can kiss my butt
As I keep running through the crest
Not giving those guys behind me a chance
To pass while I feel sorry for myself;
Or mollify my ego with a half-assed pride
That is a better called a false bravado.
I want to accomplish stuff,
Exhaling the noxious bullshit spewed by others and
Filling my lungs with the deepest breaths of oxygen
Hard work delivers.

Grit.

“And sink their bones to Davey Jones, hooray!” John Hagen, Anchors Aweigh

Playing the game,
That’s the thing,
Or so philosophers say.

It’s not the winning or the losing
It is the battle, the bruising,
The thrill of figuring out how to compete.

Few understand,
Few care,
As they see the world as wins or losses.

Sports have not cornered this mentality
Politics, dating, test scores, college applications
Each has a stake in the competitive heart

The one that beats with pride when scores are right
And bleeds to death when things don’t work out
That’s just the way things are.

Perhaps it all gets to be too much
When people invest so much in energy in the outcome.
Maybe I’m a loser for thinking as such.

borden

Nothing catches trash talk
Like the trade winds
Blowing across the Virgin Isles.

There a man can feel husky
And express himself
In the most masculine manner.

Ullmont was feeling his oats,
Having won three of the last four holes
In his friendly match with Mr. Ambrose.

Ullmont also sensed a chance,
A chance to take some money
From the esteemed Government Secretary.

So Ullmont did what athletes do,
He chugged a Borden’s Hemo sports drink
Looked to the can and belched a most distracting burp.

Mr. Ambrose looked to Ullmont,
“Was that necessary?”
He asked with colonial attitude.

“No, but it distracted you enough.
You’ll miss that putt,
I’ll put a fiver on it.”

Mr. Ambrose took the bet
And as he surveyed the green
He found his line.

Before Mr. Ambrose could address the ball,
Ullmont took another healthy swig
And rattled off another burp.

This one only got a shake of the head
And as the normally calm Mr. Ambrose struck the ball
He knew a fiver was leaving his wallet.

Ullmont took the cash
Wanting to thank the Borden’s company
For conjuring up such a superior sporting aid.

 

Photo Credit: Google Images

100_yards_Detroit_Athletic_Club_1888.jpg
Photo Credit: unknown (commons.wiki.org)

Oh, Eddie Mayo,
What happened
When you finished third
In the Connellan Mile
At Celtic Park?

Did Mr. Gordan
Make fun of your mom,
Rebuke your handshake,
Or call you,
“The little distance runner from Brooklyn?”

Was your reaction
Called for when you
Took to fisticuffs
And started a donnybrook
With the winner?

Six months later
You found yourself standing
Before a panel
Of men
To judge your athletic fate.

They pointed a finger
At your short stature
And ordered you
Demonstrate better sportsmanship by refraining
From slugging the champions.

(New York Times: 7/22/18 & 12/5/18)

The games ran
With teams from rival boxes
Posturing at first
Young ink representing one
Older wrinkles the other
The contrasts were great
But
As the reps added up
As the jump rope lashes tallied misses on thighs
As the Burpees leveled the field
Appreciation
Replaced
Competing against
With a shared purpose
To compete with each other
Bringing out the best in the athletes
While watching the spirits
Of those enduring the wod.
The final round allowed for announcements of rank
Top competitors representing both sides
Pound for pound the event measured up
Nearly equal
Leaving wins for all