Friday, September 28, 2007
Factors Preventing Me from Becoming a Serial Killer
"Don't give it any more energy than it deserves,"
was the sage advice from my fellow coach, Gary Butts. My moods tend to range from irritated to offended to morally outraged but this morning I was livid. Some days, being a serial killer seems like a good career path. The gene pool could be improved by the elimination of certain characteristics. Top of the list is the sort of butter-wouldn't-melt-in-your-mouth lying,
"I swear I never would have run over your puppy with my Hummer if I'd had any idea that would offend you."
The list is long and obsessing on it is a sure path to either taking a machine gun to co-workers or stress-induced cardiac arrest. It isn't easy to keep from becoming either a corpse or a serial killer. Still, while Sartre may be correct that "Hell is other people," I have found it equally true that other people are our saving grace.
People like Gary Butts, a former Marine Corps wrestling champion and judo coach, who every Saturday puts in six hours on the judo mat, who works with me in setting a schedule and has my back every step of the way. More people like Gary Goltz, Chief Operating Officer of the United States Judo Association who, incredibly, works for free, and has never once answered my numerous phone calls that begin,
"I need your help."
with anything but
"Tell me what I can do."
There are people like Bruce Toups, James Lally, the Bransons, and others who wish to remain anonymous, who have given substantial donations. When I wrote a letter to one donor detailing where we had used his contribution, he wrote back,
"You don't need to ever give me an explanation, I trust you implicitly."
There are the athletes who show up at practice every Saturday, some of them having driven for two hours to get La Puente. There are the kids who are impossibly young to be doing five hours of practice in a day but who do it anyway. These are the reasons I am up past midnight poring over DVDs of international tournaments, reading books on coaching and writing training plans, looking for any edge that might help them win.
So, yes, while there are some people that make me think that ax-murderer might be a good next career move, fortunately for both me and the criminal justice system, there are far more folks who in their daily actions remind me that, when God created the human race, he knew what he was doing.
----------- REQUIRED JUDO TIP ----------------------------------
Do your matwork faster. Most people are unsuccessful not because they don't know any matwork but because they don't know it well enough to do it fast enough before the referee calls "Matte". Your matwork needs to be automatic. Pick four moves and practice them every day. Try to get to the level of 50 per minute. If you can only do 20 per minute when you start, push yourself to get 21 or 25 per minute. Do this every day until it is instinct for you. The second a person turtles up you should automatically do the technique you practiced from there.