Pontification on Permanent Persistence

“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.”

Alex Trebeck: Answer, “Obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.”

Me, you, us: “What is persistence, Alex.”

It finally happened.  The first national win and in the semi pro division no less at WORLD friggin’ CUP.  I will get into the crux of this month’s topic but first – I want to say something:  

Celebration next to Celebration

First and foremost, a huge shout out and thank you to the New Orleans Hurricanes…  Here is a program that already had two national event wins under their belt in Division 2 (Chicago 2017 and World Cup 2018 – the latter they did with only 5 guys!) so they knew what it feels like, what it takes, and what it means.  I had coached some of their players back in the Prime program and had even done a clinic with them prior to their Chicago win.  When they first called me, I thought, these guys don’t need me! What’s this all about?  It’s a trap! Man, I am grateful to the One above that I answered the phone that day.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

I cannot thank them enough for making that call and making me a part of the program.  It has been an honor.  A couple of quick stats:

  • The ‘Canes outscored our opponents 22-7 in the prelims
    • In other words, 76% of all points played were won by the ‘Canes
    • Or for every point our opponent scored, we scored 3
  • The ‘Canes outscored their opponents 17-8 on Sunday (3 matches: quarters, semis, finals)
    • 68% of all points played were won by the ‘Canes
    • Or for every point our opponent scored we scored 2
  • They were undefeated the entire event
    • Once we obtained the 1st place seed, we kept it the entire event
    • Outscored our opponents 39-15 the entire event
      • That translates to 72% of all points played were won by us
      • For every point scored on us, we scored 2.6 points on our opponent
      • We mercied 3 of our 7 opponents

I think those are some impressive stats.  Way to be Canes! Perhaps it doesn’t matter but we did win the 2 event Covid series too…

Lord have…mercy

“The most essential factor is persistence – the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.”

Okay – pardon that little tangent but I am very proud of their accomplishment.  That is no easy feat.  Some may say, well, the Tons Tons, weren’t there.  Okay, my response would be, had they been, we would have beat them too. See how easy that is?

Now, moving on to this month’s topic… you probably figured it out by the title.

I think whenever someone discusses winning, the term “persistence” is usually, or should be, mentioned.  Persistence has to be a component and it shouldn’t surprise anyone at least when it comes to a significant accomplishment.  Those significant accomplishments are usually reserved for things that are quite difficult to achieve and require great effort, yes?  It is very easy to fold up the tent and just figure it isn’t going to happen.  Trust me, I have considered this many times because it is rather easy to persist at something when things are good or going well.  It is a completely different animal when they are not. 

Amazing feeling

“Success is not a matter of mastering subtle, sophisticated theory but rather of embracing common sense with uncommon levels of discipline and persistence.”

So what does that look or sound like.  Here is my best attempt at trying to justify or explain my own persistence as well as those I have had the honor to coach/play with and why we try to maintain it:

Goal setting:  If you have read this blog for any amount of time you know I write about goal setting.  Well, I take my own advice on this one.  If I set my eyes on something, I’m going to do it.  A very good friend of mine was speaking to a player about work ethic.  I remember him saying this, “If you really want something, you’ll find a way to get it. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”  I asked him where he got that from and if I could steal it.  He said he had read it somewhere regarding business or entrepreneurship but felt it applied.  I agree… it most certainly applies to the sports world or any world for that matter!

I have watched several of my friends, whether former players I had coached, former teammates, or even just those I met through clinics go on and win a national event.  Ever since watching “Push” in 1999, I have wanted to know that feeling and to be a part of something greater.  The motivation was almost unhealthy at times, I kid you not! And it was all worth it.

Once more into the breech

“Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel.”

All those national  2nd (11), 3rd (4) and 4th (2) place finishes, all those national Sunday appearances (40)… They just made me more determined.  Why? …because each time I learned something new.  Every. Single. Time.  And each time it just made me want it more and more.  I didn’t make or create excuses.  I recognized the shortcomings and worked to improve them.  I took accountability and actively searched out improvement.  I made an adjustment here or an adjustment there.  I let the process work and fixed it where I could.  Was it disheartening at times?  You bet.  Did I make mistakes in how I adapted?  No doubt.  But you have to reach inside and recognize that it IS coming if you truly stay the course.  Staying motivated is hard, sure, but winners stay after it.  You can’t break the warrior if he loves what he is fighting for.  Find that motivation, that desire, and fuel it.

I was told by many a friend and family member to “give up on this childish dream”.  What made it childish?  What made it a dream?  I have never asked anyone to quit something they were passionate about and I wasn’t about to let anyone convince me (unless it becomes unhealthy – I genuinely believe this pursuit has made me a healthier person both mentally and physically).  See, I know who I am.  I know my capabilities.  Ever heard the term “He hits above his weight class”?  I tell myself that every day.  When I get up in the morning, I pray that God gives me the strength and wisdom to be very best I can be, whether that is being a father, a husband, a friend, a player, or a coach. I pray before every match that my boys stay safe and healthy. Do I care what others think of me?  Certainly.  Do I care what others think of me regarding specific pursuits? Nope.  Some things you will not convince me or challenge me on.  I don’t expect everyone to understand.  The more you say I can’t, the stronger you make me.

“Failure is only postponed success as long as courage ‘coaches’ ambition. The habit of persistence is the habit of victory.”

Game planning for Sunday

I have read that winning is habitual and I genuinely believe it.  What that means to me is, in order to win, you must develop the right habits.  Makes perfect sense to me.  Perhaps I’m just pontificating and becoming somewhat introspective and arrogant.  Hell, I am writing a blog as if people care what I think…  anyway… habits.  If you can develop good habits (getting enough sleep, eating right, showing up early, running drills when everyone else stops, so on and so forth) you will see progress each and every time you step out on the field.  If you truly want to reach a goal, you will do what it takes each and every day to reach it.  Otherwise, you’re just full of piss and vinegar.  What you do each and every day will determine your success.  Make it count.

Because if something ISN”T working, you should recognize that.  If I run a guy to the snake twice in a row and he was shot both times going there, and I send him again – whose fault is that?  I’m not going to blindly throw him over their without understanding how to adjust!  I will find a way to get his gun in the fight, get him in the game, and develop a way to make sure he sees a point past the break.  It’s the definition of insanity… right?  Look, sometimes you’re going to meet roadblocks.  There WILL be obstacles to your goal.  The key is finding ways over, around, under, and through them.  Sometimes, that will take time.  So take the time and make that happen.

But it doesn’t stop when you win.  That goal setting now takes on a new perspective.  That adaptation takes on a new meaning.  Motivation has a new approach.  The more it changes the more it stays the same.  Continuous learning is so important, not just in this sport, but in life.  We must evolve with each win as well as with each loss.  Being intellectually honest about capability and sustainability is crucial.

It’s very real

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Which brings me to my final comments – I want to thank some people who were paramount in my learning and who never once, ever, gave up on me.  They saw something I didn’t at the time or perhaps, they saw something and convinced me to see it too.  I don’t know.  I just know they are truly my friends and without them, this win wouldn’t have been possible.  The list is incredibly long and most know who they. After all you have been there a long time. But there are a few that need mentioning:

  • Coach Paul Richards – to the man who helped me see that there really is such a thing as a paintball coach and who taught me what to look for and why.  You gave me a confidence boost when others wouldn’t.  You are the one by which all others are measured.  Rest in Peace Top!  Miss you.
  • Shane Pestana – becoming friends with someone you had only read about and admired is cool. But it is even cooler when they are such an influence.  I sure am glad we shared that pit back in Phoenix. Thanks for the guidance and insight over the years and for giving me the opportunities you did.  Let’s go fishing and hunting soon.  Tell Pax he sucks.
  • Grayson Goff – You may not have realized it but when you respected my thoughts about the game you gave me the confidence to write more about it. For that, I will always be appreciative. Great to see you back out on the field this past Cup Mr. Ocean.
  • Ken Ozvath – you, sir, kept me grounded while continually reminding me of my faith and how to live it, not just through your words but by your example!  Thank you for listening and being there all those times. 
  • Bailey, Barnes, Pate – Don’t have the words, guys. Well… maybe…”Screw you guys.” For real, nothing but love.
  • Willi, Cam, Bruce, Alex, I75 crew, and my former Primates – thank you for always believing.  You’re the best.
  • Finally – to my wife and children – you are the best part of me and I can never appreciate you enough for all the love and support over the years.  I am the luckiest man alive!

Be water my friends,

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