Poor Prep=Poor Performance

Listen, no excuses and no blame here. Be sure we are are clear about that. I didn’t throw well Saturday at the Nationals. To quote my beloved, Tiffini, “Maybe picking the Nationals as a comeback meet is a bad idea.” There is a hint of truth there, but I managed to blow it early in the week. Again, no excuses and no blame, but it is important to learn from mistakes.

We had guests the week before the meet. Three very nice German girls. One worked for my wife’s half-sister in DC and her two friends had come along to see the USA. I gave some nice tours, made a lot of meals, and took care of guests. Usually five days out, I pack, but I decided to put this until Friday, the day I was going to leave for Sacramento.

Do you see how this works?

Friday morning, the girls ask me to show them the Golden Gate. No problem, but I make them promise me that we will only go three hours. We get back, we are all hungry…you see how this works. When I jump in my car…after changing plans to pick up Tiff…the tire pressure light goes off. I have a large nail in my tire. So, I limp the car in. Rather than leaving by one or two, now it is four or five and the heat of the Friday Bay Area commute. Tiff is great and rallies up by walking a way for an easier pick up but the Bay Bridge is packed. In fact, one mile an hour through Oakland. I won’t comment on Oakland…see better writers than me!

We finally drag into Sacramento and it is too late to weigh in my discus. We had a fabulous meal and went back to the hotel. “How far to Sac State?” “Oh, about forty minutes from here.”

I begin to panic. We have this wonderful navigation system, Maggie, and she doesn’t like Sacramento and Sac State is as hard to figure how to “get to” as anyplace I have ever seen. We change plans when I am lost (with a Nav System…a U Turn on the Freeway?) and Tiff hops a taxi to meet me there. It is already 98 when I pull in.

You see how it all just keeps adding up. Someone says something about something I wearing or doing or walking and I can’t stop the “edge” from creeping in. I take a warm up (Half Turn Throw) and someone says “That was flat.” And I LISTENED. You see how it works. I can’t get enough water in me because I didn’t eat breakfast, didn’t bring enough water…didn’t didn’t didn’t didn’t.

That’s the lesson. Oh, I was beaten and, in fact, I am happy Don beat me because I actually helped him a few weeks ago with some technical advice. I had four fours (I should have fouled six) and my third throw was “there” but it clanked the cage. I need work!

But, the lesson is this: if you want to compete, you MUST follow your little rituals and things. Or don’t. But, just remember that when you keep pushing things closer and closer into that “wall” that is the official start of competition, it takes a lot to overcome this and that and this and that. I’ve done it, sure…many have.

But, it is the lesson that really bugs me: prep is the key to good coaching, good teaching, good parenting. And, I let it get away from me. It is a great reminder for me about a lot of things. Hell, I make Gazpacho a day early…why can’t I do the same with an important track meet?

A good lesson. Again.

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