The virtue lies in the struggle, not in the prize

Posted on March 22, 2012 by


This ends with a flesh-revealing photo (that’s what we in the biz call a hook).

Last year, I attempted twice to get a six pack. Each time, I was simultaneously obsessed with the goal while sabotaging my own efforts. I think the problem is focussing on outcomes, which are essentially out of our control. It may be that some people’s bodies just can’t be healthy and show a six pack. I can only control what I put in – the dieting and the exercise. Also, the vague promise of an outcome is not motivation enough if I’m not enjoying the process. And I don’t enjoy dieting or exercise for the sake of exercise.

Around the time that we went to Hobart, I started to obsess about the Great Southern Slam (GSS). The GSS is a national roller derby tournament hosted by Adelaide Roller Derby every two years. This year my league is entering a team and it would be fairly awesome to be on that team. A few weeks back I started to stress out about not making the cut. Usually at training, I focus on my little “wins” – for example, a hit that’s timed well or a quick manoeuvre through the pack. Suddenly obsessed with making the GSS team, I started to notice all my little fails instead.

There was one Sunday training session where for the first hour I didn’t have fun in any of its guises. That never happens to me. If it’s not fun, why on earth would I spend time, money and effort on doing it? Pondering it later, I realised that I had moved my focus to something I couldn’t control, causing myself stress. I still couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting to make the team though.

Then this weekend, my whingy knee started to really hurt. I spoke about it with a team mate, who said she’d just found out she needed surgery on her knee. Off I trudged back to the sports doctor. This time I was sure he was going to tell me I needed to rest it. In the time before the appointment I made peace with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to play in the GSS. I mean look how many games and tournaments there are now. Roller derby is exploding – there will only be more to come.

As it turns out, I don’t need to rest my knee. All it needs is a course of anti-inflammatories and some physio. I’m happy to go back to training now and just work on improving my skills. If I make the team, awesome. If not, I’ll just keep training and having fun.

As for that six pack? All the training we did for the Hobart match seems to have been just enough to strip the fat from my abs. I give to you, my six pack:


* title is a quote by Richard Monckton Milnes

** this six pack only exists in the morning, before brekky – what’s with that??

Posted in: LimboLand