Becoming The Best, Or The Best Me?

2017 Yonex National Championships. 

This year was probably one of the weakest years in terms of draw depth in Mens Singles since I first went to Sr Nationals. It was kind of depressing then for me to lose in quarter finals to an athlete younger than myself. It is humbling too. There was a day when i was that young gun winning things (never a national title) and getting attention. Those days are over. I am now an old guy who works too much, tries to go to school, and as much as he can, trains. The kids say I am old, and the veterans still view me as kid, not yet ready to win. Which is fair, I haven’t won yet. Sometimes it feels like I don’t win anything. Sometimes I wonder why I put every spare minute and every last penny into training and competing. This past year has not been the ideal training time. I worked a lot, and hardly got on court. I did my footwork in the grass, and my intervals on hills in the back country. It’s not exactly professional training. 

I don’t know what is coming next. I don’t know if I will be able to make it to the top. I am getting older by the day, and these kids are better than I am. 

But somehow, I don’t want to quit. In fact I think I am addicted to trying to improve. I think if I had all the opportunities of some of my competition I wouldn’t enjoy it so much. I enjoy fighting for ways to train, and doing things a way no one else has. As far as I know there aren’t any coaches who plan on footwork in the snow in boots and a parka. But if it hasn’t been proven to fail, perhaps it still has a chance to succeed. 

So in the end the question is, do I train to become the best? Or train harder yet because I am training against myself, to become the best me? 

And maybe that is how I will become the best. Or maybe that is how I find out I cannot become the best. But if I end up with the best me, the best badminton player, the best athlete I can become, has my training failed? Have I failed? 

As much as I can, I will walk in the footsteps of those who have gone before me. But as much as they had to carve their own way due to circumstances, so I have to forge my own path ahead using what wisdom is passed down to me. 

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