Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Competitive Rationalizing

It's late and I can't sleep but luckily it means I have a few extra minutes to blog about how my second BJJ tournament went.

It went better than the last one. I lost twice again but my division was so small that I still placed 3rd (out of 3) so I am in the deliciously ironic position of having won a medal in BJJ before I've even managed to win a match. I'm special like that.

I did break down emotionally into an embarrassing pile of tears and snot but unlike last time this phase was over in about an hour. [For those of you who missed the story: last time I cried for TWO DAYS. You could not mention the tournament or BJJ or that the sky looked blue without me tearing up. It was BAD.]

Added bonus: I remember enough about my matches to have a few things to bring to the mat to work on so that I might end up with better jiujitsu. If anyone actually wants me to talk about that part I will add a separate post, just let me know.

I really think this tournament helped me figure a few things out.

First: I don't seem to enjoy competing, so why do I do it?

Competing is excellent team-building. I might have completely different reasons for training than the next person, but a competition really simplifies things. Suddenly everyone seems to have the same goal. You get to know people better as you kill all that time waiting for matches. It's awesome.

Quite simply, I'm also just a sucker for a good challenge every once in a while. I'm a firm believer that the best way to make yourself a stronger person is to push yourself to do difficult things. (On a related note, I am doing my first 5k in July).

Second: Dealing with self-pity

One reoccurring theme on this blog is how I try to suppress feelings of self-pity. The escalation from sadness to pathetic is familiar. In tournaments, for example, it goes like this:

I am sad because I lost a match [ OK. ]
I am sad because I have never won a match [ Uh oh. ]
I am sad because I feel I will never win a match [ Yep. Pretty much off the deep end here. ]

I was able to break the cycle this time. The internal dialogue (yes, dialogue) went a bit like this:

  • Pathetic me: I'll never figure out this competition thing.
  • No-bullshit me: Let's think about this for a minute. Here you are, 20 years from now and you have a fascinating BJJ tournament record of 0-40. Or even 0-100. Maybe it could happen, but do you really think your future self is sitting there saying "Wow. I was right. I really suck." Or do you think she's maybe out there trying to figure out how to win, kinda like you should be doing, rather than sitting here storing up reasons for the future you to look back and say "Wow, I was being so stupid."
  • Pathetic me: I know I'm being stupid, but winning seems impossible because I'm such an emotional train wreck
  • No-bullshit me: Everyone has issues. Maybe tomorrow you get hit by a car and end up paralyzed, there are a million reasons why you might never win a jiujitsu match ever. Are you going to pity an infinite number of your future selves? Are you some kind of infinite well of self-pity? Can we harness it to power the earth?

It's never really quite the same trick that gets me to put away the past and try to do better next time. Some days its easier than others. Keeping busy helps, as does taking my meds on time. As it stands, I'm signed up for the in-house tourney on Saturday. Should be interesting.

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