Saturday, September 19, 2015

Contest Prep, Are You Prepared to Lose?

By Kris Pitcher

If you've ever witnessed the smile drain from someones face when an outcome did not turn out in their favor, or felt the tears well in your own've stood on the edge of defeat. As your throat begins to tighten, your lip quivers... your brain says, "RUN!" - you realize something has gone awry.

Most of us can recount the times in our lives we've felt this way. That time we forgot our lines in the grade school play, or when that horrible college break up took us by surprise. Or when we...lost (fill in the blank).

Me losing Overall to my team mate.
Here's the thing about competing, five competitors will place. Only one will earn 1st place, and lots will go home with nothing. We all train to win. Every one of us wants the first call out. If we didn't, we wouldn't be eating this chicken. Again.

But no one guarantees you a placing. Everyone is working really hard, maybe harder than you. We never know who will show up on contest day. And if we are only competing for a placing, we might need to rethink this hobby. It is a hobby.

I will speak for myself - which by default of writing this blog, you should all associate directly to yourselves (insert smile*).

I put a lot on the line when I step on stage. Opening myself up for objective judgement by a panel of people is a risk. Some who like me, my physique, some who do not (as evidenced by their placing/scoring). I am willing to do this, because it is part of the sport. It's how you progress forward, garner feedback, and get better. This is how our sport works.

I can only do that because I bring with me a sense of humility, and respect for the sport, for the officials and the process. I believe in it. I am an athlete. As such, I also carry with me a sense of honor regardless of my placing.

What does that mean? I never go into a show thinking I'm going to win. I don't think I'm going to show up and blow everyone away. I don't shout out on social media leading up to a show how much I'm going to "kill it". I show up with my best package and let the rest happen. I'm humble, and realistic.

I've also stood in the line up and received the LAST call out on more than one occasion. Does the smile drain from my face? No. Do I drop my shoulders in defeat? Never. Do I look at the floor once my number is called and I walk to the line? Not a chance. Do I present myself as if I received the FIRST call out. Absolutely.

In those moments, I knew I'd lost. It was over. It was over after the first call out. Yet I stood there, through the second call out, then the third, and then finally...You get the picture. I stood there as a proud athlete, knowing I'd brought my very best, and it was not my day.

Did I storm off the stage? No. Did I curse out the judges? Of course not. Did I bad mouth the competitors who beat me? No. Did I blame my coach...No.

My point is, when you choose to be a physique athlete you need to accept the objective process with grace. Whether you are first place, or last place, you are a gracious athlete.

When you win, you don't pump your fists and say, "Bo-Ya Bitches!" to the girls who lost. You hug, shake hands, congratulate them, you thank the athletes for bringing such strong competition. Be. Gracious.

Never for one moment when you are on stage let your smile drain from your face. Never for one second, let your posture show defeat. Don't for one minute think you are the *hit and you're going to dominate. Step on stage with humility and let your physique be rewarded.

Take your status as an athlete seriously and show that in your sportsmanship on and off stage. Show it leading up to, and after your show. Not everyone wins, and even winning can feel bitter sweet. The way you see that, and how you are prepared to handle that sets you up for your future success.

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