Cut Your Groove

You got a melody make them hear it. Shout it out loud and clear. Until you rattle the walls of the atmosphere, start right now, start right here. The world keeps spinning like an old Victrola, round and round, over and over. When the needle drops down whatcha gonna do? Life is a record baby cut your groove.” – Charlie Worsham

How many people have given up on something because it got hard? Or stopped trying because there were a few road blocks? Big or small please keep going. I’ve learned over the years that the pursuit of something can be a huge motivator. What is my dream? I’ve had various dreams and it turns out….I’m a big fat quitter.

In middle school I played volleyball, basketball, tennis, and softball. I was pretty good at each sport, but I would say I was head and shoulders above average in tennis and volleyball. That wasn’t without practice – my volleyball coach also went to my pool and knew me from a young age.

It was that coach – Shout out Coach Peigen – who took hard work seriously. I went to her volleyball camps every summer. One of the tee shirts from summer camp had one of the most thought provokingly terrible quotes in history on it, “Losers quit when they’re tired, winners quit once they’ve won, I never quit.” She was hard on me, not unfairly, but I use to cringe every time I heard her yell “REGNITZ!!”. She knew I was capable of more, and she would not settle for less then my full effort and concentration. She expected us to show up to every practice ready to work, but she was also the first person to make sure I was okay and my mom was doing well when she was diagnosed with cancer when I was in middle school.

As much as it pains me to say it; sometimes when I’m working on something athletically or just in life and I start to slack or try to quit early….somewhere deep in the back of my head I still here her yelling “REGNITZ!!!” and end up picking up the pace. She instilled in my some killer volleyball skills – didn’t try and break my unique service habits…spoiler my arm motion in volleyball looks a lot like my tennis serve. In high school I left my safe familiar volleyball home with coach Peigen. I made it to my new school and made varsity my freshman year, and did pretty well my sophomore and JR years. My senior year we got a new coach. Who told me that he could tell I was the heart and soul of the team, but I was short so he would probably just rotate me in to serve and then rotate me back out. I didn’t like that. I worked so hard to earn my spot and this guy thought he knew something.  So I quit.

Tennis – my parents spent A LOT of money on getting my brother and I into camps, private coaching, good equipment, and in my case the best tennis fashion a girl could have. Shout out Mom! We both got good. My brother I will admit, better than me. My brother played through high school and actually was on the state champion team. I played all through middle school and was undefeated all through middle school. I also purposely put my self in second seed on my team to ensure my ability to win. Thus, settling for less than the best from myself. I got into high school and had to choose between softball and tennis  – tennis won my first year. Unfortunately, I had stopped private lessons and consistent practice somewhere in middle school and apparently all the other kids at my new school….had not. So, I quit.

Basketball – my parents had my in YMCA leagues etc as a kid and I played all through middle school where I excelled. I got to high school and played for one season and hated it because I wasn’t the top dog anymore. My parents made a deal with me that if I gave it another season they’d get me a cell phone. I accepted the deal, and then quit. Sorry mom and dad.

Softball, I played as far back as I could remember and I was never the best, but my enthusiasm and leadership in team settings kept me in the game here. That and my willingness to dive and slide in dirt and play through pain. I got to high school and after I quit tennis after one season I fell back to softball. We were terrible, and after one season…..wait for it…..I quit.

Swimming. I am a fish. I think I was a dolphin in a previous life. I grew up spending my entire summer in the water. I swam competitively my entire childhood and had some success. When I got into grade school and picked up volleyball, basketball, and got more serious about tennis something had to give. Since very few schools in Chattanooga, TN had swim teams I quit.

I have always had dreams of being a singer. I wanted to be Shania Twain. I love singing, and writing songs is extremely therapeutic for me. I wanted to learn how to play guitar, and I learned how to play probably C, A, and G. before I quit because I wasn’t learning I over night. I continued singing and working with another guitar player. We played a couple open mic nights and people complimented me, but no secret talent scout showed up after two open mic nights and gushed over my writing and singing abilities while begging me to sign to their label. So, I quit.

There is only one thing in my life I have not quit on, Ironman triathlon. As I gear up for my 5th Ironman I am starting to take stock of my past decisions. It’s really easy to quit. It’s really easy to make excuses. It’s really, really hard to gut it out when it hurts, and you’re tired, and every muscle in your body says stop. That goes for all things in life. In sport, in work, in relationships, and in everything else you go through. It is how you handle it when things get tough that will define you. Do you quit or do you rise up to the occasion?

Which is what brings us back to that thought provokingly terrible quote. After I sat down and thought about my life, and all the decisions I have made it finally makes sense. “Losers quit when they are tired, winners quit when they’ve won, I never quit”. Now I look at this as a reminder to not settle. Never quit pushing yourself, and never settle for less than your best. If life was a record is yours skipping all over the place from all the times you have quit or given up? Or is it going to play a beautiful song with some pops and crackles from life’s challenges and successes? How did you cut your groove?

Smooches,

Liz

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