Athlete Journal: Valerie Worthington, Entry 10 – Prepare to Feel Unprepared

This week the struggle is dealing with life and feeling prepared for the Mundial (world championship) at the same time. So I’m thinking about the Girl Scout motto…and their cookies.


Welcome to the Athlete Journal of world-class grappler Valerie Worthington. Follow Valerie as she trains and competes in various events over the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition season. Val’s journal will be posted every Thursday.

You can catch up by reading her previous journal entries!

By the time this entry runs, I will be one week out from the 2012 Mundial, the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) World Jiu Jitsu Championship. (Yes, I know that sounds redundant. And redundant.) I’ll be leaving in a week for Long Beach, CA, for four days of hotel living, LA traffic, messed up sleep because of time zone differences, and reunions with old friends. Oh, and there will also be a jiu jitsu competition. The granddaddy of all jiu jitsu competitions, in fact.

The competition, of course, is the reason for all the other things. But I mention these things in this particular order because it reflects how my life has been recently. This past week or two, just when it has been time for me to really zero in on my final preparations, I’ve gotten hit with lots of reality. Unexpected obligations and opportunities, or obligations and opportunities that I knew were coming down the pike but whose exact arrival date was not entirely clear, all seem to be converging on me during this two-week period.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to maintain my regular training schedule, with, at last count, one missed session, which I was able to make up later. The stepped-up number of balls in the air just means my focus is a bit less, well, focused than I would like.

I’m not complaining; actually, some things are coming together in an exciting way. It’s just that the timing is hilarious. Indeed, the word that best describes me is as follows, and I quote: “bemused.” In my opinion, this situation is indicative of a couple facts: first, that life doesn’t care about the best laid plans, and second, that part of our best laid plans has to be that we leave room for things we didn’t plan for.

A friend of mine once gave me some very comforting feedback when I was feeling underprepared for a tournament another time (Hmmm…this seems to be a trend, more about my perceptions than about the reality, I hope.). She said, “You don’t feel particularly prepared right now because you’re always prepared.” I think what she meant was since I train a lot as a general rule, I don’t actually need to change my regimen all that much when it’s time to step it up.

I like to think this is the situation for me with this tournament, and with my life in general. Since I’m already mostly prioritizing the things I want to be doing, I’m ready when the intensity level rises. It’s a question of degree, not kind.

I suppose the takeaway from this is that I’m never as ready as I want to be or as I think I should be. So, given that life is always going to get in the way, my goal needs to be to keep my default level of readiness as high as possible so when my best laid plans get messed up, which they undoubtedly will, my fallback status is still pretty dang ready. Sounds like the Boy and Girl Scouts had the right idea, to “Be Prepared.”

And cookies. They were on to something with the cookies too.

Leave a Comment

Do Not Sell My Personal Information