2003, I was cocky as hell.
I was coming off a spectacular year in which I
had wrestled my way to Canadian Champion in my weight class 84
Now I was in Edmonton, Alberta, for the Golden
Bear Tournament not exactly defending my title, but warming up
for a defense.
Victor Springer was a journeyman wrestler. He’d
enjoyed some success, but was mainly in wrestling because he truly
loved the sport. When I saw he was my opponent, I breathed easy.
I knew I would win.
But since becoming Canadian Champion, I’d
become I won’t mince words lazy. I’d cut my training
way back and I was out of shape. No matter, I thought, because
on skill alone I should be able to win this tournament.
I was so cocky, I didn’t even bother to
warm up before meeting Victor. I’ll use Victor to warm up
for my other bouts, I boasted.
Man, was I wrong.
Victor came out hard and I wasn’t ready
for that. My reflexes weren’t sharp and my timing was off.
I tried a quick over-under to throw Victor for the win, but he
evaded it and put me on my back. I was shocked. The bout had just
begun and I was already down four to zero.
I fought back hard. Point-by-single-point, using
my favorite move, the high crotch, I clawed my way back to a four-four
draw. But each time I scored, I burned away my energy.
I was near exhaustion and could barely stand.
I tried one more desperate move to break the draw. It was a double
leg, but I was too weak to hold it. Victor fought out of it easily
and scored the final point winning 5 to 4 in what should have
been an easy match for me.
In all honesty, I was so exhausted and seized
up with lactic acid at the end that I literally could not move.
I didn’t care that I’d lost. I was just so happy this
grueling match was finally over.
Why I really lost.
I didn’t lose because Victor was a better
wrestler. I lost because I didn’t respect my opponent. I
lost because I was complacent. I lost because I was out of shape.
Since then, I’ve never lost another for
one of those reasons. I’ve learned the importance of preparing
physically and mentally for everything I undertake.
And while it’s true that I don’t succeed every time,
at everything I try, I always give myself the best fighting chance
when I don’t win, I make sure I’ve learned something
by failing that will help me to win next time.
Fight one more round. When your arms are so tired that you can
hardly lift your hands to come on guard, fight one more round.
When your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black and you are
so tired that you wish your opponent would crack you one on the
jaw and put you to sleep, fight one more round - remembering that
the man who always fights one more round is never whipped."
Gentleman Jim Corbett
World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, 1892 to 1897
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