Olympic thoughts (2)

I knew someone will say something until the end of the Games – and I was sooooooo happy to hear Clara Hughes saying the perfect thing today. Clara is the only athlete in the whole world to win multiple medals in both Summer and Winter Olympics: she won 2 bronze medals in Atlanta, for Cycling; then she switched to speed skating and won a gold medal (2006), a silver medal (2006), and 2 bronze medals (2002, 2010). She’s not a very young athlete either – being born in 1972.

That was my mini-presentation for Clara. And today – after she won her last Olympic medal, the reporter asked her something along the lines of ‘Although you won only a bronze medal, you are still happy. Why?’

Please note somewhere her words – they are the most precious words you can ever hear in relation to a competition (not her exact words, I will try to find an exact quote and re-post exactly, but a good rendition):

I hear people talking about medals, owning the podium… I don’t think about that – I see it in terms of excellence – excellence in performance, excellence in athleticism… I train to be ready physically and mentally, to peak when it is the right moment… I was ready today and I knew I will be the best I could ever be – and that’s what I did: I gave it all and I had the best time of my life…

I am sure you have heard these ideas before – goals must be based on performance, not results. Train to be ready, to get your best form, train both your muscles and your mind. Not to gain a medal (or a trophy), but to be your best, to give your best. When you are ready, when you wake up in the morning being calm, prepared, confident, and enjoying your day – performance will transform itself into results.

P.S. Congratulations again to all Canadian Olympic athletes – and congratulations to both Canadian Bobsleigh teams and to the 5000-relay team!


Olympic thoughts

Like the Summer Games a couple of years ago, I am watching these Olympic games with a different perspective than a few years ago.

Why? I believe all the comments sports anchors make have a different vibration, I tend to try to hear something (which I very rarely do) and I also try to feel the whole experience more like an athlete, not a simple spectator. Far from me to say I feel like an Olympian (it’s a long way to being an Olympian), but I sure feel different than just a few years back.

I am not going to make any negative comments right now (I’ve been complaining for a few days already and it’s getting worse) – I choose instead to share with you one beautiful comment from tonight’s Lady Short Program: one of the former Lady athletes (I do not know them by voice and they never showed them to us, so I have no clue who said it) made this comment:

Butterflies are good! Just make sure they fly in formation.

This is such a simple synthesis of the pre-competition nerves. Nerves are good – if you don’t have them, it means either it became a chore or it became boring; none of these 2 feelings will make you give your best, so you should find a way to get back into the challenge or… find another sport to compete into. So we agree that nerves are good. Good!

Now, what do you do with those nerves? Make sure you control them – see the butterfly formation. If they move chaotically – they control you and they’ll do whatever they’ll please. And who can tell what nerves will please to do at any given time? But if you manage to figure out a way to fly them in a beautiful formation – oh, let them sing you a song, because that’s the moment you became a real champion!

So here you have it for the future: Keep them butterflies – just make sure they fly in formation!

Congratulations to all the Canadian Olympians, to all the Olympians in general! And my deepest sympathy to Ms. Rochette – she demonstrated tonight the impossible formation of the most beautiful butterfly colony… I don’t think there are words to comfort her now and all I can think of is to pray for her and her family.

My thought for tonight: Forget the ‘Quest for Gold’ – go out there and enjoy your moments, Olympians or not! Try your best, give all you have, and remember to keep the joy in it. The rest will follow…

And, of course – See, Smooth, Smoke, One


February notes

If someone can explain where did January go… please do so!

But complaining about how fast the time flies by is only going to aggravate me, I learned this one a long time ago… so – no complaints… but seriously… where did it go?! OK, kidding.

As January / February decided to bring some cold with them (not enough snow to build even one small snowman, the child is 100% disappointed) I had to postpone my well-laid plans to get out of the house and on the range, for a few practice shots now and then. Mounting the gun exercises are going ok (not phenomenal, mostly because I hate going in the basement in the middle of the night! and that’s the only quiet moment when one can focus on some personal stuff, at least in this household )… but there is a need to do something… almost anything will do.

Watching William playing tennis once a week was just killing me – I love tennis, I love playing the game and for a few years I missed all the opportunities to play. Add the Australian Open I’ve been watching like a mad-woman @ 3:30 in the mornings – so it comes to no surprise that last Tuesday I marched into the office of the Membership Director at the Cedar Springs Club and… a few minutes later I was the happy owner of a family membership. After returning home I didn’t tell William anything, he would have to get in the car and drive himself there – he’s been asking for months now to go to their pool (they have a water-slide and he was anxious to try it for the first time in his young life). But later that night I shared our new acquisition with the head coach – and this time I had no power (and no will, to be truthful) to stop the man in my life: so come 11:30 PM who’s playing tennis on the only occupied court?! Yeah, you guessed it – the happy couple. Well – now ‘playing’ is a bit too much for what we were doing. Remember we hadn’t touched the tennis racquet in over 5 years (if not seven, I lost count) so no normal person can get on a tennis court at midnight and start serving for the Provincial Championships.

But we did what they call ‘cardio – or fitness – tennis’ and we enjoyed it enormously. Of course, both of us found muscles we forgot we have… interestingly enough, like in horseback riding, we find completely different muscles. Not sure what that means, but it took me 2 days to be able to hold a pot of water with my right hand only (well… I do return the backhand with one hand only… and after the first 15 minutes Florin forgot I am the lady and started to return at his full power… so there you have it, the complete ‘excuse’).

Another interesting fact is that, like in trapshooting, tennis is (after taking the fitness form out of the equation) a mind game – you have to watch the ball, not the racquet, you have to move smoothly, but firmly, you have to move your whole arm, not the wrist. Translation in trapshooting: watch the target, move smoothly, move the gun with the body, not the arms… I wonder if all sports get to the same 4-5 main focus ideas bottom line?!

So here you have my winter blues solution – can’t go to Florida (which will be my first option!) so we’ll just go to the tennis club and enjoy some evenings of fun.

For all of you who can stay out in the cold – remember to stay warm! For those who can’t – find some indoor activities that will keep you in form.

And, most important – have FUN! Winter is almost gone anyhow, spring is just around the corner… I can’t WAIT to get back to the range

In the meantime – See, Smooth, Smoke – ONE!