Last night, during practice 43 with a team of grapplers, and our last BTL practice before the team heads to Nationals, we started with Kyle’s mantra to combat his limiting belief – “Don’t protect anything!” Kyle did not wait for practice to start to contribute this thought to his teammates. He was shoveling some kinda supper in his mouth and blurted it out between chews. He was excited to share his learning and lead this team by example. Kyle translates thought to action kinda like Kit Carson back in the day – as soon as he thinks it, he does it. “Done so,” remember, was Kit Carson’s mantra, Nike simply corrected the grammar.
Last night, we traveled back to practice two, three, and practice four. I wanted to remind this team how far they’ve come in two years time. Sometimes, it’s healthy to look back. Sometimes its not. Today we’re gonna look back to learn and appreciate our growth. Good.
We finished practice with a little learning from the SEAL’s. Their BUD’s training is designed to render out the few, in essence, only the gritty gonna make it through the grind. But it takes more than individual grit to make it through the grinder, you’ve gotta get out of your own head. SEAL instructors look for the man who doesn’t retreat into himself when overwhelmed, instead he merges with the team. Ecstasis – “the act of stepping beyond oneself.” According to SEAL commander Davis, “More than any other skill, SEAL’s rely on this merger of consciousness. Being able to flip that switch – that’s the real secret to being a SEAL.” In essence the key to being a SEAL is the ability to become ONE with your mates, especially when overwhelmed. This is why they establish SEAL swim buddies even when on missions in the middle of sand.
The culture we want in this room, I reminded them, is this kind of oneness. ONE, distinct and deeply connected. Beyond grit we want good men who get out of their own head and send good thoughts to each other, who challenge each other out of belief (not frustration), who pick up their brothers regardless their weight class or position on the team, and merge with each other instead of retreating inward.
Be ONE at Nationals, I encouraged them. Together we improve. Win or lose – merge with each other. Good…
I asked anybody who wanted to share, to finish off our final time gathered in this way prior to competing for another National Championship. Again, Kyle did not hesitate. He shared it was cool to look back. He loved Big Tens and the way the team shot so much. And, he shared how cool it was to see how far we’ve come and how far he’s come. The team has come a long way. Back in 2015 we only had a handful and now it’s like half of the team, he exclaimed with a wide smile creasing his face. Kevin shared it was cool this weekend as a spectator. “We were all on the arena floor and you could sense how much everybody was in it. Luke’s match got everyone fired up. Everyone cared.” Kevin could feel it. Bo noticed it too. He was excited for the guys and it was fun to watch. He doesn’t usually watch, but couldn’t help himself this year. Everyone was there and in it, he reiterated. Nate shared his convo with Todd in an interview. He feels like he did back in 2015. He thinks nationals are gonna be special. The words prior to Big Tens from Tervel and Grappy meant something, Nate reminded us. “Fight harder,” sunk in. The belief is there, he concluded.
Grappy planted one on Bo and didn’t remember it. He was so happy for him. The entire team of tough guys, laughed till it hurt. Keyshawn shared how proud he is of Luke and the job he’s doing moving up a weight. We sometimes forget how cool that is what he’s done. Keyshawn spoke from the heart about the man working his weight class. It was starting to feel like Church inside this Steelwood facility. Like Church.
Tervel wrapped us up. He reminded these men that they’ve seen the right things to value and are buying in. It’s coming out in your interviews, how you value each other, how you work together. Like Bo said, you can truly have excitement and love for your brothers. You value them differently now. Tervel sees this and it’s a work in process. Keep working. He finished with he’s proud of his men.
Someday, we’ll be on practice 86 with another team of grapplers. Some of these men will be here. Some will have moved on. We’ll look back on last night, practice 43, and Kevin or someone like him, will grab the reins and share with the new freshmen, how cool it is to see how far we’ve come. He’ll remind his mates that the upcoming NCAA’s represent another opportunity for us to come together and perform at our peak. “Merge,” He’ll exhort them, with real conviction and clarity in his voice. “Do not retreat into your own head when overwhelmed. Merge into the team. The team will lift you up and you will lift them. Keep working.” I’ll be a few years older and have my arm slung over Grap’s shoulder. He better not try to plant one on me 🙂