Athlete Journal: Valerie Worthington, Entry 5 – Losing and Winning and Losing

Being philosophical is tiring, especially on top of jet-lag. But I had a great experience in Abu Dhabi, which I’m going to use to make me a better grappler. Plus, I have a clean bill of health!


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!

In the movie The Rock, when Nicolas Cage’s character tells Sean Connery’s character he will do his best, Sean Connery responds with “Your best! Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and f*ck the prom queen.” The implication is that winning is more enjoyable and that losers are rationalizing at least a little.

Well, no sh*t.

It’s always nicer to win. That’s not an opinion. It’s a metaphysical certitude, as the cantankerous John McLaughlin would say. But the fact is, of the hundreds of people who participate in a given tournament – and the one I just attended is no different – the vast majority goes home at least a one-time loser.

So we losers have a choice. We can be pissed off, cry, or stomp around. OR, we can be pissed off, cry, or stomp around, and then regroup and use the experience to learn and improve. I am choosing to do the latter, and increasingly, to focus on the latter part of the latter.

Since I’m talking about losing here, you might be able to hazard a guess as to how the tournament went for me: I lost my first match in my weight class, and then won one and lost one in the open division.

But even though I care a lot about what Sean thinks, I can’t help but be happy, because I feel like it was another important milestone on my comeback trail. Yes, I messed some things up, obviously. But I actively did some other things well, and I have a really good sense of some other other things I need to be working on.

Plus, this was another instance where competing helped me turn a corner vis-à-vis the factor they say is ninety percent of the challenge – the mental one. After competing in this tournament and seeing how I matched up against the competition, I have begun for the first time since my two-year break from competition to believe I might be competing against the appropriate people, that I am in the pack. While maybe I’m not an outlier at the top, I’m also not an outlier at the bottom. And that’s priceless, both in terms of how I feel about myself and, I believe, in terms of improving my edge in future competitions.

So, Sean, judge if you want. But during this tournament, I remembered why I compete – to improve at jiu-jitsu – and for whom – my rationalizing self.

(Plus, I heard the entire prom court has the herp.)

Leave a Comment

Do Not Sell My Personal Information