Don’t Give Up!

The other night, Rock and I were watching the Villanova vs. Oklahoma NCAA basketball game.  It was hard to watch and yet it was exciting all at the same time.  Villanova had the game of their lives.  Sometimes things just come together at the right time.  Oklahoma, unfortunately had a really rough game and it just got worse as the game continued.

Rock mentioned that if he was coaching and this happened, the one thing he would emphasize to the losing team, is that you need to pull yourselves together (Rock is an awesome hockey coach and recently went to the State Championships with his travel team, where they lost a heart breaker that just left them out of the finals.  I myself have also coached hockey for many years as his humble assistant!).  Some of the players were starting to cry and while the game was most likely over, it is important to remember that it isn’t over until it is officially over.

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Sure the score showed that they were likely going to lose the game.  But until that final buzzer goes off, the game is still going on.  You have to pull your big boy (or girl) shorts up, hold back the tears, and fight.  Maybe you know you won’t win.  But you don’t let the game unravel in front of you (or should I say, you shouldn’t unravel in front of the game).  You go down with dignity and like the top notch athlete that you are.

As we discussed this, I mentioned that a lot of this carries over into running.  There are times where running makes you feel absolutely defeated.  It could be the weather, your body not cooperating, or a race that simply has gone wrong.  You can’t give up.  Sure you can walk.  If you are injured, or if your health is at stake, then of course stop.  But if things just aren’t going as you had hoped, you’ve got to tuck your chin, look ahead toward the finish and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Two years ago, Rock had an awesome training cycle leading up to the Chicago Marathon.  I didn’t say anything to him but I had a feeling he was going to blow his PR in the dust.  Everything had just gone right and I felt like the flat course and his fast corral was going to push him to a new limit.  Then he called me at mile 18 to let me know that some freak thing had happened to his hip flexor and he could barely walk.  He was injured, but okay.  Later he told me that he considered pulling over and leaving the course.  He had such high hopes for this race and his training had been great.  To walk to the finish would leave him with a terrible time.  But dammit, he had trained for that race and he was going to finish!  And finish he did.

Sure, he didn’t love his time.  But he knew that if he woke up the next day with a DNF, he would be so ticked with himself for not just getting to the end.  He knew he didn’t have a debilitating injury and he just wanted to finish what he had started.  On the flip side, he was able to experience the race in a totally different way as he met so many kind and thoughtful runners who stopped to walk with him or just offer some encouragement.

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This is not to say there isn’t a time or a place for a DNF.  Some races aren’t meant to be.  Some runs aren’t meant to be.  If you are sick or injured and need to pull out, by all means, pull out!  But always take a moment to reassess.  Maybe you need to shed a quick tear.  Then tuck your chin and keep going, one step at a time.

Running isn’t easy, and even when we get to a point where it becomes easier, there will always be that run that reminds you that this sport owns you!  But just remember that each and every one of you is much stronger than you can ever imagine.  When things get rough, as they sometimes will, you are more than capable of pushing through.  Never, never, never give up.

Quick side note: I was hanging out with a sleeping baby on Sunday afternoon and watched Rock’s beloved Blackhawks take a strong 6-0 lead against Boston.  They looked so strong against the Bruins and had the game in the bag going into the second period.  The Bruins came back after a break and scored 4 quick and strong goals to make a rather convincing comeback.  They didn’t win, but they didn’t give up.  You just never know!

14 thoughts on “Don’t Give Up!

  1. Also – Northern Iowa vs. Texas A&M … I had already marked it ‘red’ on my bracket assuming it was over. Not even close … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNGmD6FcQdY

    But yeah – it is true in so many ways, sports and non-sports. Don’t ever quit, you only cheat yourself. You can stop doing something – but make a choice, make a thoughtful decision – don’t quit.

    • I missed that game. But sounds like it was awesome if you marked it off only to have to change it back. Incredible comeback. Thanks for sharing the video. Making a thoughtful decision is a great way to put it. My parents never let us quit anything. We always had to stick it out. One year I took a jazz dance class. I was so terrible at it that when I asked my mom if I could quit, she said yes immediately. I’m a terrible dancer 😉

  2. LOVE this! (…& my fiancé Ray is also a hockey coach out here in CO, so even more relatable. 🙂 )

    Today I wrote about hiking the Inca Trail, literally in tears on the second day because it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But keep hiking we did, and I’ve never felt as accomplished as seeing Manchu Picchu at the sun gate.

    Thank you for sharing this healthy dose of encouragement for this gorgeous Monday!

    XO, Jessica
    http://Www.semisweettooth.com

  3. love this post again! as you can probably tell, we love our Seahawks and their mantra is never quit and never give up…when we went to the SB in 2015 we were being hammered at home by Green Bay, down and out with no chance, needing a miracle but they never ever quit, made some ridiculous plays including a fake FG for a TD, an onside kick and Russell was unstoppable. This year, we almost pulled out a 31 point comeback in the playoffs against the Panthers. I’ve considered quitting during a marathon before but, as you said, that never give up mentality is so relevant to distance running…it is our mantra. I wanted to quit in Maui a couple months ago – it was the roughest marathon I’ve ever run and everything went wrong after mile 12 but I knew I would regret it. Couple weeks ago, my wife’s hip/IT blew up on her half way through what she thought was going to be a half-marathon PR. She had every reason to quit but slogged through 6 miles and finished with her head up and smiling as she crossed the line for her new bling. Our spirit as runners is undeniable and I swear I see it on display at every single race. Sorry for the long comment…I should save it and make it a post on my own site 🙂

  4. “Never, never, never give up” Those are words to live by. It’s hard to watch your team lose, but frustrating when they give up while there’s still time on the clock! Anyone can give up when things get rough, but it takes grit to keep going, especially when the win or PR is out of reach.

    High-fives to Rock for finishing. That’s terrible timing for an injury!

  5. Ironic I read this when I had the worst run (post knee surgery #2) this past weekend. I knew from the first step it just wasn’t going to happen. Thankfully MY rock 🙂 was right there with me and said it’s okay if we have to walk the whole thing. So we walked, we tried to run, we’d walk some more, try to run some more. But at no time did it ever occur to me to just up and quit. Were there tears of absolute frustration? Absolutely! But I refused to give in and after 2 miles was happy that at least I got out there and put one foot in front of the other – especially knowing there are so many who can’t even do that. Sometimes it’s just easier to keep things in perspective and not blow them into something bigger than they need to be. And as much as I’d like to dislike Villanova for totally busting my bracket, I have to give credit where credit is due to the new champs!

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