Just Play

My strength and conditioning trainer, Thomas Lam, recently asked me if I ever get angry. Apparently i give off the impression that I'm always relaxed and content. When I'm playing, it's a different story, I get upset at myself all the time. But by the time the next point rolls around, it's forgotten, there's no use crying over spilled milk. I don't think it was game play frustration that Dr. Lam was referring to, however, but everyday life.

Those of you who know my current situation probably understand that for me at the moment, there should be plenty to be upset about. There is some unnecessary drama that has taken place over the past couple weeks, just enough to stir the pot. So as not to extend said drama any further than it's already gotten, I won't say any more than that. Instead I've put some thought into how very like a game of beach volleyball life really is. That's right, it's about to get all philosophical up in here. 

Beach Volleyball - A Metaphor for Life
For this metaphor, let's imagine we're all playing an important, high-pressure match. Life is the opponent. One set to infinity, win by 2. So how do we win? 

Any way we can, but there are always ways in which to better yourself. Life will come at us in many different ways, in order to stay on top it's important that we practice. It takes a combination of many different skills in order to truly succeed. Every point will be different than the last, so it's important to experience as much as possible in order to be prepared for what future points will bring. The more quality time spent perfecting our passion, the greater the returns, and the better we will play.

Then comes the warm-up. It's important to have some sort of routine. Something that consistently helps us to stay relaxed, or to get pumped up, or whatever it is we need in order to be at our best every morning, or every game. Minor adjustments can be made to a warm-up, but as we get closer to game time, closer to that high pressure scenario, the more comfortable we will want to feel, and the less we will be willing to sacrifice from that routine. Life is always the home team, we all have our own supporters, but no matter how many fans each of us has, everyone will face adversity at the hands of Life. Any advantage we can take, we need to be sure to capitalize, making every preparation an important one.

Just like that, the first whistle blows and Life comes at us. Have we prepared enough? Whether we have or not, it's time to put up the best fight that we can. If we spend all our time worrying if we are good enough, or smart enough, or strong enough, or fast enough, then we won't be. Confidence is the key. Once game time hits, it's too late to wonder if we're ready, it's time to know it. Life is not about to let up for us, if we give up an early lead, then we'll have to dig extra deep in order to take back control.

There will undoubtedly be frustrations along the way. Life will earn a few points. I have never seen a perfect game (except Charlie Sheen, who is apparently winning even when he's losing.) Whether we're beaten by the uncontrollable let serve, or we lose a hard fought battle of a rally, our opponent will take a few points from us no matter how hard we push, or how consistent we play. But the importance does not lie with how we are beaten, but by how we respond. Will we show defeat? Or will we be ready to win the next battle? Like the saying goes, "A winner never quits, and a quitter never wins." True in all facets of life and volleyball. Any point Life scores against us is just reason to come back stronger.

How we react to any situation Life throws us, win or lose, can make all the difference. Everyone has their own style and personality which will be effective at times and ineffective at others. No player is perfect, but Life isn't unbeatable so no one has to be. Whichever side has scored more points when the game ends wins. It's a simple concept, so why spend so much time analyzing it? Life challenges us all, in the end, the best thing to do is to just play.

So do I ever get angry or frustrated? Yeah, I do. But then my 12 seconds are up and it's time for the next rally. Frustration isn't going to do me much good, it's time to chin up. Life is going to come at me again, but I am very confident in my training. I've worked hard to get where I'm at, and not matter what Life throws at me, I'm ready. Win or lose, the game is on. I've just gotta play.

Ben Jammin

PS. Feel free to check out mine and Christian's new Facebook fanpage by clicking the link on the right. There's not much on there right now, but when the season hits it will be a chance for you to interact with both Christian and I and get instant updates on our status as the season plays on.

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