Struggling with winning

farrah-tennis

Remember Farrah Fawcett? She was a pretty accomplished tennis player. She also went to my high school.

It’s easy to think that one or two setbacks necessarily equals many setbacks, or setbacks forever.

Our team’s main tennis season just ended, and I have to say, I really struggled with winning. Translated: I lost a lot.

In the end, I came out  4-3, but still the momentum of loss took its toll mentally on me in a way it hadn’t before.

I love to think that, like a Bruce Lee mantra I heard in a biopic about the legendary martial artist, each new point is an opportunity to win.

Thankfully, I won the 4th match last night in a 2-hour singles match that was scheduled for 6pm, then 6:30, then for Wednesday (we’ve had lots of rain), then back to 6pm yesterday. Oh and then outdoors before having to go indoors thanks to nightfall and all the mosquitoes that survived the great flood and the ark.

Still, for some reason last night, every time I goofed – mostly my serves – I almost couldn’t erase it next time I gave it a go.

But there were a couple of huge differences too from recent struggles to win.

It was a singles match. It was all on me – scorekeeping (for which I’m notoriously terrible in doubles), calling line shots, ball girl (of course – this ain’t Wimbledon). I alone owned the outcome (scary and exhilarating at the same time).

Good thing I had done some pre-match self-preaching, mostly on the basics of tennis:

  • Play my game,
  • Watch the ball (turns out this is tricky in the dark),
  • Visualize winning the point,
  • Move my feet; and
  • Don’t be afraid to change things up (pace, strokes, serves).

I also reminded myself to play one point at a time. Eventually, the score would tilt in my favor, right?

Also last night, I learned something about myself and my mental game:

  • I can, in fact, adjust on the fly – assessing what’s not working and either change my approach to it or eliminate it altogether.
  • When I’m “in the zone,” I know exactly what to do, and if I stay focused, my envisioned solution is usually effective.
  • Settling into the match and to my rhythm is crucial to winning for me. If my heart rate is up and I’m distracted, it’s going to be an uphill battle. If I play like I’m in practice, it’s all good.

Maybe the curse has come to an end? I’m going to say it has and that now I’m in a position to keep it that way. On to the next season and another opportunity to win.

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Where the fishies bite

Shore of mountain reservoir with fog rolling in as fisherman waits for catch

A shot of my hubby on the shore, with a snowstorm threatening just beyond.

So I sent the hubby off on his Annual Ice-Out Fishing Trip over a long weekend – the 19th such event. Family and friends from Texas and Colorado met in western Colorado to go on the offensive for some hungry fish.

Little did they know what they’d be up against – because, logistically, something always goes wrong.

Fish Tales ( << I know…like that’s never been done before)

I’ve concluded fishing is like any other sport. It has its own terminology and its it own breed of competition, which includes a certain brand of stories.

For example, if the fish are biting in a certain area, it’s not uncommon – correction, it’s downright custom – not to tell inquirers what the fish are biting on (i.e., lure/bait). I guess it’s the accepted way of protecting the watering hole and tomorrow’s catch.

On the other hand, when one has caught fish, he/she is likely to stretch both story and fish size to nearly unrealistic dimensions.

Lo the angler. He riseth in the morning and upsetteth the whole household.
Mighty are his preparations.
He goeth forth with great hope in his heart — and when the day is far spent he returneth, smelling of strong drink,
and the truth is not in him.

—Unknown

Rain or shine … or snow

Last I’d checked (yesterday morning), there was a winter storm warning, with 6″-12″ of snow predicted for the area where they were fishing. The last time I heard from my hubby, the bites had been few.

Cold fisherman braving snowfall while night fishing. (Not recommended)

Note for 20th Ice Out: Don’t bother fishing in the snow.

And all the fisher guys weren’t even there. One had gotten held up behind an accident on a mountain pass, so he had to spend the night in a nearby town.

This could only mean one thing: a very long weekend, to include multiple stops at various streams on their way home.

As is common with fishing trips, communication between base and the homestead was scarce, so I didn’t hear anything else until they got home this afternoon. And this is what I got:

While the hubs and pops-in-law unloaded the car, I asked hesitantly whether they’d caught anything.

Stranger things have happened

Dad mentioned they’d run into a group of fishermen at a nearby store – 23 of them – who’d just caught over 300 fish in the same area over the weekend. Naturally, I was hopeful our guys had gotten some good intel – and fish – before trip’s end.

To his surprise: “We asked them what the fish were biting on, and they told us!”

Followed by, “We asked them where they were biting, and they told us!”

I know now it was the truth, because tonight my hubs just vacuum-packed over a dozen speckled trout – the largest at about 16″. Whew! They didn’t get skunked by a bunch of fish.

So a good trip all-around. I’m just waiting for the story about “the one that got away” – as in, the 24″ kind.

The Big Cabin

Next year is The Big One – the 20th Annual Ice Out. The Big Cabin is reserved, the caps and t-shirts are being brainstormed. Other than that, I haven’t a clue what that this means in fishing terms. I’m sure there will be some great stories, though.

Real dreams never die

leap-of-faith

So there’s this thing. I’ve had it for quite sometime.

It’s a dream that I – we – started as an experiment. A product to see if there was a market for it. A business started out of a felt need.

Question was, did anyone else feel the need like we did?

No market research existed for our target market. Heck, even today there is great debate over market findings.

But we did it. We dove into the “experiment,” knowing we could be throwing money in a black hole, likely with no return.

We were wrong.

We did break even. It took three or four years, but it happened. Our experiment had worked, better than we could have imagined.

So why didn’t we keep going? Right about then, one of us ran out of time, the other out of money. We kind of got stuck. For an experiment, though, it wasn’t bad.

Still, it was hard to shutter the business. Looking back, we were going against the grain – way against the grain. Market awareness wasn’t yet there. We couldn’t get shelf space where we needed it. Besides, there were no distribution channels – yet.

Now, nearly 20 years later, all that has changed. Funny thing is, the market is still there. In fact, it’s bigger – much bigger. Could the demand still follow?

I think it’s time to see if there’s still life in that dream. I’ve been exploring how to revive it, and I think it can be done.

We’ll have to wedge it back in via the margins – the way most small businesses start. And we may have to bootstrap it – again.

It was successful before in a less promising environment. It could be successful now, right?

There’s only one way to find out.

My Bruce Lee fetish

Embed from Getty Images

I’ve been fascinated with Bruce Lee since I was a kid. I’m a bit young to remember The Green Hornet or other early movies of his, so I must have watched his appearances on variety shows (didn’t he have one himself?) and probably some competitions.

But one biopic, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993), stays with me.

I’m not a martial artist, but as an avid tennis player, I know what games my mind can play on me in competition. In Dragon, I recall hearing a quote or view from Lee that went something like, “Every point is a new opportunity to win.”

For some reason, I can’t find anywhere that he in fact ever said that, but to me, the idea is as good as gold.

It changed my tennis game, how I think about it and myself while competing. When I think I’m out of gas or will, I remember that line and that there’s always a reason to keep pushing, fighting or pursuing.

After all, it ain’t over till it’s over.