Hello, and I hope this finds you wrapping up your week in AWESOME fashion.
I also hope you’ve had a chance to listen to last week’s podcast suggestion, which will be a favorite of 2021 for sure! I’ve also had several conversations around this WON and have enjoyed them all. I think you’ll find it’s worth the hour.
And as a special challenge, take note of not only things you LIKE but also things that make you UNCOMFORTABLE or that you DISAGREE with, and ask yourself ‘why’. Again, it’s lead to some great discussions. I also suggest you try to listen without your PAST, be in the PRESENT and imagine your FUTURE and see what comes up for you.
Today’s update comes from 30K feet in the air and a window seat looking down on a lot of clouds on my way to yet another pickleball adventure in Denver. I bring this up because that is the topic of today’s update – PICKLEBALL! You had to know it was coming!
My first ‘official pickleball tournament’ was played on Dec. 18th, 2020 in Surprise AZ where I was able to walk away with a few medals – two bronze and 1 silver. Not bad for a first tournament outing and only 6 months of playing. But what really set in my mind that weekend was WON GOAL – to qualify for the National Pickleball Championships to be played at Indian Wells in Palm Springs in Dec 2021. Much like an Ironman Triathlon where you must qualify in a sanctioned event to get to Kona, you need to take Gold in your event at a regional tournament to get your automatic bid into Natty’s. And last weekend, in Cranberry Township, PA, of all places, that’s exactly what we did going 4-0 to take gold!
And while that moment was oh so sweet and meant so much, what was really amazing was thinking about the journey that it took to get there and all of the things that had to come together just perfectly for that to happen. ALL. THE. THINGS. Whether I thought they were good or bad at the moment – they were all necessary for that BIG win to happen. And in this case, an awful day on Friday made for the success of Saturday.
I played singles on Friday and while I managed to squeak out WON win in a grinder game (16-14), I lost the other three. And I can tell you that they weren’t pretty. My doubles partner (Gary) can also tell you that I wasn’t in very good spirits and was seriously upset with the results – or lack thereof. For me, playing in the regionals wasn’t just another recreational game or tournament, but it amounted to playing in a playoff game. And to me, those losses feel even worse than a normal loss, especially when you know that you didn’t play your best game – or anywhere close to it. Those 3 bad losses also impacted my confidence and attitude about the weekend and all of the hard work I had put into this silly game! Not a good place for Jack. Perhaps a bit extreme, but truthful.
However, there were also a couple of really good things that came out of Friday as Gary and I reviewed the day. The WON thing that was most important out of Friday for us both, was the awareness of playing in a tournament environment and the different mindset it requires. As I think any athlete will tell you, tournaments ARE NOT THE SAME as a rec game – especially when we’re talking playoffs. The pressure, the decisions, the strategy, and the competition are all up a notch or 5! And that is a different experience and takes some adjustment. So with my WON lesson learned, I went to bed Friday night with the resolve to do my best on Saturday.
Early Saturday morning rolls around and I’m out of bed early and head to get some coffee and breakfast and pre-game focus time. However, I can still tell that I am shaken on the inside and in a weird headspace. I get my coffee and breakfast (sausage, egg and cheddar sandwich from the ‘Bucks cause I LOVE that thing and is tradition on game days) and sit outside on a gorgeous morning and break out my AirPods, my favorite inspirational playlist, and sat down to journal and work through some thoughts.
Looking back, it wasn’t that what I wrote was profound or that I listened to music that I had never heard before, but the feelings and emotions that were triggered in the process. The biggest being faith and gratitude. There were so many things to be thankful for at that moment – specifically about Pickleball and the impact that WON goal has had on my life.
- This game has been a large part of my sanity through the pandemic – keeping me looking forward to something, a reason to stay in shape, be outdoors, and develop not only an entirely new skill set, but also remember the mindset that is so important for learning something new and then the drive, frustration, wins, losses, laughs, and support that it takes to make it to the next level and improve and compete.
- There have been so many amazing people that I have met along the way that have become friends and have taught, inspired, consoled, cheered, laughed, hugged, smiled, and made every day I was on the court better.
- And it’s hard to express the events and places I’ve been able to experience in the last year. From the humble beginning at a recreation center in Seattle and the shores for Greenlake to Adult Summer Camps in Indianola, playing on rooftops in Las Vegas, along beaches from California to Florida, clinics/tournaments/games in cities, and states all across the country. It’s been a pretty amazing year chasing a yellow whiffle ball with a paddle.
- It’s also taught me so many through tough times as well. Close losses, mistakes, how to be a better person on and off the court. And to remind me who I want to be in the best of times and the difficult times and what it takes to get better – the work ethic and mindset!
And if that deep gratitude wasn’t enough for me to change my mindset, please take a few minutes to enjoy this video of Miles doing deadlifts that I found in Arnold Schwarzeneggers Newsletter. It is SERIOUSLY worth watching for a few minutes because his face says it all.
My coffee is now gone and it’s time to get ready to play. Centered, deep in gratitude, and in faith that whatever happens is the absolute best – win or lose it’s all amazing. I can’t explain how those moments spent getting close to gratitude and God changed the day – or more specifically – changed me, prepared me, energized me. And that is what faith and prayer are for me. Prayer changes YOU first, not the situation. I still lost on Friday, that’s a fact. I still had to play on Saturday, I had to show up and put in the work. But with faith and the comfort of being the person I’m meant to be, I went and played my best day of pickleball in a tournament yet.
I love the idea that God creates the future THROUGH us – not FOR us. It’s a partnership and a relationship and it takes both of us BEING who and what we are. And TRUST! Trust the process, the path, the people, your passion and play your best in life! Your effort and attitude are all you can ever control in life so make sure you have the right WON working all the time!
I don’t know where this email will find you, what you’re trying to achieve right now, or perhaps what you just accomplished. But what I do know is that having a goal that you are passionate about and willing to sacrifice for is a great guide to amazing places, things, people, and adventures you can’t even imagine when you start.
I also believe that passion, desire and a willingness to sacrifice are put in your heart by the divine and then superpowered when you nurture it with faith and gratitude – whatever that looks like for you. I believe the path we walk in faith, purpose and meaning is created WITH God, not BY God alone, and that those adventures are where you find so much of the joy and adventure in life and how you fulfill your purpose in this short and beautiful life we’re blessed to experience. You only get WON life, what are you choosing to create with it!?
And yes, we took some time to celebrate and take in not only that moment, but time to reflect on all of the amazing moments that got Gary and I to Cranberry Township, PA and on top of the podium. TAKE TIME TO CELEBRATE! The BIG and the SMALL accomplishments!
What can you celebrate right now and what’s something you’re working on right now that would benefit from you taking a moment to be grateful for all that it has already brought you and having faith knowing that you are on the right path?