Tomorrow I Will Be Perfect
This post is written in honour of the incredible team I have the privilege of working with every day. You have stood with me from the beginning and none of this would be possible without your coaching, support, respect and encouragement.
It was Labour Day weekend in the late 1990s when our family flew to Ontario to watch my brother’s first OHL training camp with the Belleville Bulls. On the second day of camp, the team’s owner Doc Vaughn, welcomed us into his home overlooking the Bay of Quinte. As the sun was setting Mark (16 years old at the time) and I wandered down to the dock to sit back and chat as we were embarking on new adventures in our lives. He was leaving home to play in Ontario’s Major Junior Hockey League and would be billeted with another family, while I was moving to Toronto to work in a national public relations agency. We were both saying goodbye that weekend to our parents and the security net of home. It was a blend of exhilaration, raw emotion and trepidation all rolled into one. The weekend felt like a rite of passage.
Competing tomorrow will feel the exact same way. Beyond the glamour of the sparkly suit, dazzling lights and showcase of physique, will be a stage built of overcoming bumps in the road, sacrifice, self discovery and one I feel I have earned. I have wanted this destination as badly as I have wanted to breathe for the last two years.
Since I arrived in Winnipeg, the last 48 hours have been a roller coaster of unexpected emotion (you know the kind of feelings that sneak up on you and take your breath away) ranging from pure adrenalin and “pinch me I’m so freaking excited” to moments of intimidating fear and that nauseous feeling of “oh god, what am I about to do.” At times I have walked around this City in a daze still in disbelief that the moment is finally here. Yesterday, while sipping an Americano in the sun, I was suddenly overcome with the thought that 3.5 years ago I weighed 220 pounds and now look at my life. I couldn’t help but sit and let the tears stream down my face.
And while it will be time to stand centre stage alone, it certainly hasn’t been a solitary journey in the two years leading up to tomorrow’s strut. If you have seen the movie Any Given Sunday, you’ll remember the scene where Coach Tony D’Amato (played by Al Pacino) fires up his football team with an incredible speech. “Life is like a game of inches. You have to fight inch by inch. You want the guy next to you who’s willing to fight and die for that inch. Cause that’s what living is for – the six inches in front of your face. The guys who go that inch with you, that’s a team.”
I have a team like that – guys who are tough when they need to be, but can keep it fun. Guys who have been with me through the good and the bad; who never let me give up, who can motivate me to give my best day-after-day. Guys who put me in my place when my quest for perfection can be draining on them and me. I am sometimes an acquired taste, but they accept me for who I am – focused, intense and demanding of myself (sometimes to unrealistic and unobtainable levels). They hate it when I beat myself up and likely will be surprised when they read what I’m about to say.
Tomorrow I will be perfect. Regardless of where I place. Perfection does not mean flawless, tomorrow it means there is nothing I would change. I will stand on that stage and not give a shit about anyone’s expectations of me, only my own. I will stand in the line-up of competitors knowing I have put my heart, soul, sweat and blood into my training, nutrition and preparation. I can look you in the eye and say I’m not disappointed because there’s nothing we could have done differently.
Nothing worthwhile in life comes easy. This has been a meaningful challenge, an incredible experience and taken my life in a completely different direction. If I could suspend this moment in time I would in a heartbeat. Behind my big smile is a feeling of contentment and a heart filled with pride.