id741-Bark like a Dog

Written by Anon   

Always think POSITIVELY.

Bark Like A Dog --Posted by anonymous on May 9, 2008

When I was a sophomore in high school, I participated in the sectional swim meet within our athletic association. It had been a really good season for me and my times had been slowly dropping with every meet—especially in the 100 Freestyle. As this was the last meet our team was in for the year, it was important to perform to the best of our abilities. It was the perfect opportunity to do what many swimmers find to be a huge accomplishment: to break a minute in the 100.

I had two opportunities to swim the 100 free that day: once in the open 100 event and then again later in the 400 free relay. I finished my first race slower than I had hoped—just over a minute. Because I had a while to wait before my next event, I began to dwell on what I had to do. I knew that I would be really disappointed if I didn’t break a minute on my last chance.

As most athletes know, when you have time to sit and think about what you need to do, you start to get nervous. That is exactly what I was beginning to do; only it wasn’t the good kind of nerves that get you psyched up—it was the bad kind that made you want to sit in a corner and hide.

Knowing that this wasn’t the ideal situation to be in, I got the attention of my coach and asked for a pep talk. I expected him to lecture me about how far I’d come and how hard I worked to get there, but the speech that I got from him was better than I could have imagined.

“I’m going to tell you a story, Lauren,” he began, “about dogs. I was watching those little toy-dog competitions on TV the other day. You know, the ones where those little yuppers run through the hoops and up and down the teeter-totter and all that? Aren’t those things just the greatest? Well there was this one dog that was just a thrill to see. He was running through that course like none other, just zipping past everything. Of course, his owner was this silly old lady with a big, flowery dress and a floppy hat. It was just a sight to be seen, that little dog and that woman."

“Now, this was an exciting dog to watch because he was going so fast, he leaped onto the platform at the end of the race, and the crowed was ecstatic because the dog had not only just won the event, but he just broke a record! He jumped into his owner’s arms and was so happy like little dogs are when they’re doing those things."

“Then the crowed went quiet. They looked at the course and noticed that one of the poles that the dog had to run through was knocked down. That adds an extra few seconds onto his final score. To make it worse, it wasn’t even the dog’s fault that it was knocked down. The woman bumped into it when she was guiding her dog through the course with her big floppy hat! Because of this, the dog lost."

“The look on the woman’s face was of obvious pain. She felt so guilty that she ruined this incredibly moment for her dog. But it was kind of interesting, watching that woman and her dog together. She looked so sad, but the dog was the same. Then it occurred to me that the dog didn’t care whether he won or lost. Honestly, he probably didn’t even know he was in a competition. All that he knew is that he was having a good time running around through some hoops and it was a good day for him. He was doing what he loved and that was all that mattered.

“So Lauren, when you’re swimming out there, remember that you’re here because you love to swim and nothing more. You didn’t spend all those hours practicing because you hate the water or because you want to be an amazing swimmer—you’re there because you love it.”

So I did. I remember thinking to myself during that important race to go my hardest because I’m out there doing what I loved. It doesn’t matter how it ends up, but just remember to enjoy the moment because it’s the last I’ll have of it for a while.

Oh yeah—that was the day that I finally broke a minute in the 100 Freestyle.


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