There is definitely something special about the Olympics. It evokes national pride and as an athlete it is really a time to showcase sport and the process of competition. In many ways the Olympics exposes the core of sport. Mind, body, heart are all tested and put on display on the biggest stage.
After a three-game losing streak with the Wings, the Olympics have been somewhat of a distraction and a reminder of why I love sport and why sport is so important. It has reminded me to take pride in the "struggle." Struggling in sport often means that you are learning and growing. If you are going to be successful a part you must enjoy the struggle. I think if you ask any athlete competing in the Olympics, they would appreciate the journey as much as the destination.
I have a great deal of appreciation that these athletes train four years, or a lifetime in some cases, and their competition can last mere seconds. I find watching the Olympics to be a mix between excitement and nervousness. There is so much on the line for these athletes that you can't help but want to see them find success, regardless of their nationality. As an athlete, you can relate to the thoughts and emotions that you see on display at the Olympics. I find the athletes that are successful are able to channel their emotions in a positive way, trust their preparation, and just allow their performance to come through with a clear mind. It is tough to describe, but you can almost identify exactly when an athlete in is that "zone." I think that is what all athletes strive for including lacrosse players.
When comparing our team to the events of the Olympics, perhaps the biggest difference is in the Olympics where the end is so abrupt. In our season it is a longer process. There are many ups and downs. In the down stretches of the season you have more time to question things. It is easy to start to doubt yourself and live under a cloud of negativity. Olympics have reenergized me in a sense.
Not many things are more inspiring for an athlete than watching the Olympics. It is a reminder of the "fine line" between losing and winning in sport. I can think of six or seven examples of little breaks or plays in the game that seem insignificant when they happen, but end up being the difference between winning and losing. That is what I really respect about Olympic athletes; they have to be so dialed into the little details. When you listen to Olympic athletes being interviewed they are usually very intelligent, insightful, and have a higher level knowledge of fitness.
To be at that level, you have to take almost a scientific approach to sport. You have to have such an intimate connection and relationship to your sport. That is something I have really learned from following some of these athletes. How do you find your peak performance? What is the absolute best course of action to be at your best? These are some of the questions I have started to ask as we look for ways to get our team back on track.
In a team sport like lacrosse, things are less concrete than the majority of sports you see in the Olympics. There are so many things out of your control. In a losing streak, when emotions are high and you can lose yourself in excuses or get distracted by pointing your finger at things that don't really matter, you have to focus on the few things that are in your control like effort, enthusiasm and attitude. In watching the Olympics you are reminded that ultimately you are accountable for your success or failure and you earn the little breaks in the game.
Hope to see everyone this Sunday, February 23 at 4 p.m. as we take on the Minnesota Swarm.