Monday, August 9, 2010


I am in a bit of a slump, both mentally and physically. Of course, the mental aspect is caused by the physical aspect and so if I could fix what I am doing, I would immediately feel better. Easier said than done, right?! But nevertheless, it can be done.

On a scale of 1-10 this past month in Europe has been about a 2 for me. I’ve have competed in a total of 5 meets and 3 of those meets have been Diamond League meetings. In 2 out of the 3 I have completely bombed. There is significance in this trend. To call it just the normal ebb and flow of what every athlete experiences in their sport might not be a true reflection. I believe in ups and downs. I believe that every great athlete—from Michael Jordan, to Serena Williams, to Tiger Woods, to Jerry Rice, to Jackie Joyner Kersee, —experiences times when they don’t live up to their own expectation and when things just don’t seem to go in the right direction no matter how hard they try. It’s simply not possible for an athlete-- a normal human being-- to not have an off day.

So why do I not accept that this is just a normal slump for me? Well, it occurred to me hours after my meet in Stockholm as I sat in my room and stared at the blank wall that I was doing it to myself all over again. If it had been just one big meet that had gone bad I could possibly write it off as just an off day. But I had felt good and competed badly--twice. And unfortunately I just don’t think it was a coincidence.

I like to believe that I’m strong-minded and have an unbreakable competitive spirit. But sometimes there are cracks. It happens when I start to look at the big picture. When I can be in the moment and just worry about one single jump, I’m good. But there are times when I make it more than that. I don’t want how far I jump in the sand today to determine how long I will be able to pay my rent. But in the back of my mind I know that it does. That pressure can sometimes cripple me because I know that in my personal situation, I have a small window to perform well enough to be able to do this for another year. And when that window begins to close in on me, I start to panic and try to make it happen instead of letting it happen.

This is my Achilles heel. You can tell me not to worry and stress about things and that’s all well and good. I agree with you. You can also tell me not to think about the pink elephant. It’s sometimes just harder than it seems. These opportunities are amazing and I want to make the most of them. I want to be present and in the moment and competing to the best of my ability. I just need to relax. Focus. Regroup. The rent will get paid…somehow it always does.


Anonymous said...

My 2 cents for you...and I'll be brief:

Find the pink elephant...walk over to it say, "you will not defeat me!!!" Then, KNOCK THE HELL OUT OF IT....then go and jump over the pit!

There is a shoe company with the right idea..."Just Do It!"

Happy jumping!!


Bianca said...

I love you. I'm praying for you. 1 Corinthians 2:9.

Nothing else, nothing more.

Anonymous2 said...

It sounds to me like you need some stress release, and I can't think of anything better than exploding off the board for a great PB. That will relieve your stress right away.

steveburks said...

"I don’t want how far I jump in the sand today to determine how long I will be able to pay my rent. But in the back of my mind I know that it does." As Lawrence Fishburne exclaimed in "Searching for Bobby Fischer," when his chess student spotted the winning move, "THERE IT IS!"

There. It. Is.

I won't be slinging any empty, ra-ra hooey. Your having pinpointed the source of the psychosomatic problem, though, gets you at least halfway to the solution. At LEAST. Concert pianists face a similar terror; one mistake --> a bad review --> the poor house (so to speak). Olympic-level sports performance & virtuosic musicianship are at minimum =y complex (your job might be harder), and subject to a million variables, just one of which can make you crash and burn.

But here's something.

Legendary Martial artist Dan Inosanto said of Filipino fighters, that they believe victory & defeat to be determined by a higher power, so they're world-renowned for going all out. Presumably because, as far as they're concerned, the outcome is totally disconnected from their actions. TOTALLY. To. Tal. Ly. That leaves only one reason to fight: for its own sake. If they were long jumpers, I suppose they would say, "If I jump poorly, then God doesn't want me to pay my rent this way. I survived before jumping, and I'll survive after it, until I don't. So be it. Bring on the jump."

Heck of a philosophy. Gangster. I'd have to be conditioned that way as a child. Acquiring that outlook as a grown man would never happen. NEVER. Not without major spiritual surgery anyway. My prayer is that you discover (or recover) within you, that capacity to accept the possibility of real failure, even permanent failure, whether or not your spiritual belief system allows you to attribute it to "a higher power." Marxists would disagree vehemently, a la, "Religion is an opiate for the masses." You're absolutely right, that talking ain't gonna get anyone to that place. It's higher-order business. (But that face you made has GOT to lighten something for you! Hilar!)

Finally (I know right? Novel), Bianca's post got me thinking: Paul was definitely on it with that statement. Under your circumstance, let me suggest one of Solomon's. Ecclesiastes 9:10. Read this, then read your tweet, "I happily sign all scraps of paper, pictures, etc. that are put in front of me. I jump in sand and someone cares." Bless you Sis. Let's go!

brit brat said...

if all else fails, you can always move back home with Mom. That should remove the weight from your shoulders :)

Wayne said...

Perhaps living in the moment includes accepting that you're "not always in the moment"! I know it's cryptic but maybe you should just feel the way you feel and roll with that! If you're in a "letting it happen" frame of mind...roll with it! If you're in a "making it happen", Sweet Lord I NEEEED this jump so I won't have to eat Ramen Noodles for 6 months...then roll with THAT! Accept the pressure! Sometimes Necessity is the mother of Accomplishment!

#2 Fan said...

I can really relate to this post. You're so right though, the rent always finds a way of getting itself paid...God is good all the time :) Good luck to you, stay strong and focused.