"For what it's worth ... it's never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of, and if you're not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again." -- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
4,974 miles. 0-1. Belarus was a long way to travel for one match. Not only was it just one match - I lost! It was one match and I didn't connect to the #BeRARE mentality. I failed to be relentless, aggressive, resilient; and most importantly, I failed to execute, which is my biggest disappointment.
Coming into my first true international competition I kind of knew what to expect: a different style, different routine, different opponents - basically, expect everything would be different. The approach doesn't change, though. Like I've said before, "No one promised me comfort. To get to where I want to be I know there will be struggle, discomfort, and pain. I must embrace it!" I WILL EMBRACE IT.
If I didn't want this challenge I wouldn't have decided to catch my childhood dream and wrestle anymore. I needed this pain to become stronger, tougher, and humbler; to be a champion and do the work of an underdog. I needed this adversity to become more of the champion that I will be today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my life - not just in wrestling, but in every facet of life from Faith to Family. I needed this to become even more RARE.
One of the most important things I've learned in life is that I have to be honest with myself if I want to get better. If I don't do that then I don't deserve to win. I know that I have to get better and will continue to find ways to do that.
Short story, though...while I was briefly back home in Waterloo, IA before this trip overseas, I was talking with a friend of my father's. He recounted a conversation he had had with my Dad during my freshman year of high school when I had been held out of wrestling because I had a C+ on my progress report. He'd asked my Dad, "Don't you think you're being too hard on him?" My father pondered his question and responded, "It's hard to make a champion. Kyven will be all right!" - Willie Gadson
Expect another blog where I will go in depth about that conversation. Juicy stuff! But those words my Dad spoke to his friend are resonating with me after this tournament. My focus now shifts to April 10, 2016 to the Olympic Trials in Iowa City, IA. This will be my opportunity to make the Olympic Team in my birthplace. That's my focus and goal. If I can't make the team then I don't get to compete when and where it really matters, which is in August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!
I know this experience is all a part of God's plan for me. And although I don't like the way I'm feeling right now, I know the only way to fix it is to continue to trust in God's plan, push through this discomfort, figure it out, do the work, and make the adjustments necessary to obtain the end goal that I have set for myself.
So, as you finish reading this blog and head into your day, know that it's hard to MAKE a champion. You will be all right!
One more thing, get it in your spirit that "PAIN is part of the process in PROGRESS!"