Things I Think – Thursday 4-8-2010 – Don’t Tell Me I Can’t

In case you haven’t noticed, I tend to have a very competitive personality.  I am not sure if it is a genetic trait yet or not, but I think my father tends to be the same way, but on an entirely different level.  He has always preached to me to do it right and do it the absolute best you can.  He never was one of those fathers that drilled into me that I had to be the best or made me practice until dark.  But somewhere along the way, I adopted the never give up attitude. It was probably the Napoleon complex syndrome to some degree, since I was always short until the magical growth spurt of the summer of 1987.

I have always been picked on and challenged by the bullies, from the 5th grade until pretty much my SR year in high school. Although picked on is not the proper word, more like effed with.  I didn’t back down from “Booger” (yes that was his nickname in HS) when he was 250+ lbs and I was a taught 135 lbs, when I body slammed him in gym class because he thought he could “wrestle” me while we were playing flag football.  It was my Wrestlemania moment in life, kinda like when Hulk Hogan body slammed Andre the Giant.  Needless to say that was my defining moment in my mind as when I stopped being the “little guy” who just put up with peoples crap.  From that moment on, I stood up and spoke my mind.

Fast forward a few years when I went to college and I was told that I would never make the wrestling team. Yes I walked on, yes I made the team. The following year I managed to make the starting lineup for 9 matches late in the season. I feel like I could go on and on about what I was told I can’t do, you can’t run a mile and half in under 6:30…BAM 6:27! Broke the academy record. If you could only imagine some of the crap I had to deal with.  Yes some of it could be brought on by my big mouth once I was confronted but, that is how the cookie crumbles.  My instructors at the academy over heard me talking about how excited I was when it came to the combat day, where we got to wear boxing gloves and body armor.  We basically just got to beat on each other and tried to get the other to submit.  A real early version of ultimate fighting! So they thought it would be funny to put me up against the tallest and biggest guy in the academy at the time.  Ha ha, joke was on you wasn’t it, even though he had about 5 inches and 60-70 lbs on me, I won in about 30 seconds or so. Again, I am not bragging or at least I don’t mean to be, I’m just saying, I don’t like people thinking or telling me I can’t do something.  When I took up Judo, it was more of the same.  I was labeled a “wrestler” and yes the black belts all picked on me, but I still competed.  I only got to Yellow Belt status but I did compete in one tournament which was a brown and black belt event. I took fourth when I had to forfeit the 3rd place match due to a concussion from the previous match.  That one really hurt. In my final tournament, I was told I could not possibly win because it was the toughest tournament in Texas and one particular guy in my division had beaten everyone here locally and was expected to win.  Well I beat him, not once but twice.  He managed to fight his way back through the loser bracket to challenge me for 1st place (double elimination).  I have to say that I smoked him in the finals and yes I won the gold.  Please tell me again I can’t do something.

Now I am nearing 40 and once again I am being told of things I can not do.  Maybe I just need to ignore people, but they get me so worked up!  Recently I was actually in a mens rest room at a bar in Austin and this guy had on this cool “Tail of the Dragon” t-shirt and I asked him if he had actually done it or just had the shirt.  He said that he did it and I told him I have plans to ride my Harley on it.  He looked at me and told me there is no way.  He said to me “you can’t do that you will die” and there was no way he would ever do that.  I just laughed to myself, smiled and told him, well that is the difference between us, I will do it and actually earn my T-shirt anyone can drive a car.  That is what pretty much prompted this rant of a blog.

I have always thought of myself as physically fit, I stay active and still play some sports. When I said I was going to ride my dirt bike in an enduro race, everyone laughed.  Well the first try my bike fell apart, so, I was teased and that fueled the fire for the second attempt which I finished. It did take all I could do mentally and physically to complete and I doubt I have ever done anything like that before which was as exhausting.  Yes I am signed up for another run this coming October.  I was also laughed at when I thought about doing a mini-triathlon.  Well I am not signed up for that yet, I do have two upcoming races.  The DFW Mudrun which consists of a 10k run while going through 18 obstacles and all the while being in mud.  Oh yeah, you have to compete in military pants and combat boots.   In May I will be doing the Warrior Dash, a similar race but only a 5k.  Since I was told I would not be finishing either of these because I was too old and not the kid I used to be, all I can say is thhhhhbbbbbbbttttttt.  That was me sticking my tongue out.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you, you can’t do anything or that what you want to do is impossible.  Become the little engine that could and like Nike says “Just Do It!”  A lot of us have physical limitations, we may not run the fastest, jump the highest, or be the strongest, but you also have a whole other mental side.  The mental toughness is what will get your body to cooperate and the will to compete.

2010 is my year, I am going to do things I have never done before, I am starting with the adventure courses and later this year I plan on completing an Iron Butt ride.  Yes I was told I could not do that either.

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers.

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