A game of inches
"You find out life's this game of inches, so is football. Because in either game - life or football - the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don't quite make it. One half second too slow, too fast and you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They're in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that's gonna make the fucking difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying! I'll tell you this, in any fight it's the guy whose willing to die whose gonna win that inch."
Al Pacino, as Tony D’Amato in Any Given Sunday
On Saturday, October 10, 2015, there was a battle of wills. It was contested with barbells, gymnastics, rowing, jump ropes, medicine balls, dumbbells, and bikes. It covered an array of time domains and modalities and it proved to be too much for some. In the Elite women’s division, first place came down to a single second. Or .02 miles. Or 1 rep. It depends on how you look at it. After six events, Grace Dresher and Margaux Alvarez were tied for first based on points. Based on the tie-breaker rules employed, Dresher was crowned the 2015 champion. The sixth workout ended on a sprint on the TrueForm Runner. Alvarez got on the treadmill seconds behind Dresher. Both ladies were holding painful paces. Alvarez knew what it took to win this event because the announcer was calling out distances as the clock counted down. Both ladies sped up. Pain on their faces, they were unwilling to quit. The workout was scored on hundredths of a mile. Dresher took first with .33 and Alvarez took second with .31. This tied them for points at the end of the day. If Alvarez tied on event 6, she wins the day. If she got one more rep on event 1, she wins the day. If she went one second faster on event 4, she wins the day. It is incredible what it can come down to. The same is true of the Dresher. One fewer rep on event 1a or 1b. One second slower on event 2 or just 2/10ths of a mile slower pace on the final and she ends up in second place overall. Most of the time we don’t know how close we come to winning or losing. Job interviews, first dates, pregnancy (hot button) or any myriad of other outcomes. It is amazing in sports, with the wonderful advantage of hindsight, instant replays, and a pile of stats, we can pick it apart until we can’t see straight. I think of it as nothing other than a powerful lesson for life. We don’t know which rep matters most, so we need to make the most of all of them. This could be actual reps in the gym or it could be a little extra courteousness to our waitress when our order is wrong. Life is a game of inches. Make all of them count.