Victory Scholar Blogs 22/23 – Zach Light (Uni. of Galway) | ‘The Men In The Arena!’ |

January 21st, 2023 | NEWS

The Men in the Arena

In my past blog, I wrote about the importance of showing up. The idea of sticking to your own process and finding joy in growing each day has always fascinated me. It inspires newly developed routines and lifestyles, fosters creativity, and makes experiences more memorable. However, we tend to look at the process as a means to an end. This is where it gets tricky. We get tunnel vision and solely focus on the results. We get frustrated when things don’t go the way we planned. These factors, along with many other detriments, compounds until we eventually lose track of why we even started the process.

In sports, the main goal you always look towards is a championship. Everyone wants the glory. Everyone wants to be on that podium, holding that cup, or wearing a medal around their necks. How can we do that when we lose sight of the little things that are staring us right in the face? We must not forget about our process. That’s what these last two weeks have been about. In a team sense, we are taking it day by day, knowing that we have to stick to our daily process because of the main goal we want to achieve. A process without a fixed goal is just a never-ending cycle of “going through the motions,” a deceptive path that leads to nothing.

When you have a goal in mind, and aim your work towards a greater cause, you get more out of it. In the last two weeks, everyone on the team has given their entire focus on getting our desired result on Saturday. Working on our own offensive and defensive schemes is as crucial as scouting that of our opponent. Having the energy and enthusiasm to attack each training session build as the days go on is just as important. The nerves are there, the anticipation is palpable, and all we can really control is how present we are in each moment of training, scout, and preparation. Having been fortunate enough to be a part of a championship team before, these feelings are not new. They may seem daunting at first, but they are actually riveting. It shows that you’re excited and ready to compete. The moment is waiting up ahead, and you can’t wait to be involved in it.

There are few things better in life than competing at the highest possible level, wherever that may be. Knowing your team have put in hours on and off the court with specific intentions to reach this moment is an electric feeling. There is nothing but positivity in the gym, a subtle, yet vital symbol of everyone’s love for the game.

The last couple of years, before each game, I would reflect on the idea of being the “Man in the Arena” (In a team sense, of course). I would recite it in my head, almost like a prayer. I always found the last portion of the quote to be the most important though, “[The credit belongs to the man] who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know the feeling of victory nor defeat.”

Being present for that big moment and pouring everything into it is all that you can ask for. That feeling of putting all the doubters aside and believing in those you stick with through the trials and tribulations is certainly an unmatched one. Falling in love with our process has always led to this, and come Saturday, we will be the Men in the Arena.


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