Saturday, December 14, 2013

Allegory of the Cave

I believe athletes are some of the toughest individuals on earth.  On a day-to-day basis, we handle physical and mental hardships that tear us down.  Then, with courage and willpower, we rebuild ourselves in order to take on even greater challenges.   There is no amount of weight that would make me cower and slow my pull.  I attack everything, every challenge, with the mindset that there is no scenario where I am not victorious.  Sometimes I fail and feel hurt, but the amount of pain is no bigger than a pinprick because I know 2016 is the bigger picture. 
160kg Snatch from 2013 Senior World Championships 
This past World Championships I suffered a shoulder injury that will require a surgical repair.  That news was tough to swallow because 2013 was by far my best year of weightlifting.  I made two international teams and lifted some huge personal records.  I’m also sitting at three kilos away from the American record snatch in the 105kg class, which I have dreamed of breaking ever since I started this sport.  So the slap in the face from reality stings a little bit: surgery on Tuesday, December 17th, and then 4-6 months of rehab.  My shoulder dislocation didn’t hurt that much and I’m sure surgery won’t hurt either; but reality is sometimes more painful than anything.  Reality is that surgery won’t be fun.  Reality is that rehab will be a long, slow process.  I could even miss my goal of being back to lifting by April, but in the eyes of an athlete there are no losing scenarios.

My deeper reality is that everything is going to be ok.  My entire body is going to have time to rest and heal, to be ready for the long road to Brazil.  Going through this experience will strengthen my mind and get me more focused than ever on my goals.  My coach, Zygmunt, will have ample time to break down my technique and strengthen my weaknesses so that when I attempt that 175kg snatch, I am a well-oiled machine.  In all seriousness, this is a blessing in disguise.  A Paralympic Skier Ralph Green once told me: “A setback is setup for a comeback.”  My comeback has started and when I return to the platform you will see a stronger more tenacious lifter.  Winter is coming.

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