44 days of COVID in-place discipline won’t be tossed in trash by “re-open” pressure

12-5booking it
 ‘Discipline’ can mean four days of studying for a State license, or maybe getting 1200 words right for a submission before lunch, but pro wrestling as an “essential business,” THAT must have another meaning I haven’t encountered.

Trying to work my sports as a release during this current, constant COVID focus, going to a local park and finding sections of 2×4 “blocks” bolted onto the hoops wasn’t a happy moment. That the Prez was stumblin’ and fumblin’ on national TV for ten minutes didn’t contribute anything to my happiness…well, actually, I didn’t watch it – and I’m good.

Okay, something got around my sunglasses and irritated an eye during a great bike ride Saturday, I had three beers while binge-watching five episodes (four hours worth) of ‘Defiance,’ and I’m sure it annoys my brother the dogs jump off his lap to watch my every move in the kitchen, but I delivered Mom’s Easter flowers and a chocolate egg, so I’ll call it karmically even.

Blowing off the last four (or five…) days without progress on a second wattpad book and not finishing two blogs (did anyone miss me?) along the way was a sign of mental drag, which is where discipline comes in. Discipline says get back to best practices; even if its later than it should be, get it done, then get on to Next.

A strong bike ride in Charlotte sunshine reassured me that I’m still capable of doing the right thing personally.

Discipline

If you haven’t got the coffee on and laptop fired up by 7:15, you’re behind IMHO, although eight-ish during this in-place situation is a reasonable standard. The writing game is obviously different from being an office admin or my first job out of college, making a minimum of 20 cold calls daily, while putting in beaucoup windshield time,  with more of the same during the years in scholastic fundraising.

Being at the schools by 7:15 was a necessity then: Calls, demos, signings, and starts were well-defined signals of numeric and organizational rigor. The numbers spoke to time on task, better production and group averages came from managerial follow-up.

Having shut down writing sessions at 2:30 a.m. many times, “productivity” there isn’t in terms of on-the-clock hours as an admin associate, or group starts and product sold in scholastic fundraising role.

“Thinking about” writing can be a vague laziness, for me it doesn’t really count unless there’s an aha! moment about what comes next, at least a page of notes scribbled in a blank sketchpad, a system I’ve used forever.

Discipline is aligned with good and consistent habits. If you’re a night owl, own it, rework what a timely start to a day means. Doing brain downloads with notes to self over java in bed? Sure. Not everything needs a computer.

My best production from time on task writing was during latter part of the Great Recession, when I worked an 11-7 shift in retail and edited two years of group essay materials from SCHOBY (So. Carolina Hugh O’Brian Youth) into stories-chapters for an Aesop’s Fables-type read-along book.

Two months of sitting in a warm waterbed every morning, cranking along on 800-1,200 word chapters, polishing leadership thought about trust, sharing, self-confidence and the little kid level – with a 10:15 deadline so I could shower before work – set a great base for the push to self-publish a 73,000 word project when I’d finished the SCHOBY deal.

I brought pages of my own stuff to work, stuck it under bags on my counter while Jack and I cranked production well enough to gain a 1% of sales bonus money nine months in a row as Nautica specialists. Editing between customers, I completed my first book over the course of  seven months and saved $500 by shooting my own cover. January bonus money made publication possible.

That is, after three more months of editing for actual printing.

That’s nothing extraordinary compared to success stories-in books I’ve read, more like a must do. Absolutely NO DOUBT that time on task makes or breaks things, and with the current ‘in place’ situation, time is a discipline I have plenty of to invest.

Pro wrestling as “Essential?”

In keeping with my desire to provide something sports themed in the current desert of possibilities, what can be said about Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis declaring WWE professional wrestling an essential business?

For those of us raised on “Mr. Fuji and Professor Ta-rooooo Tanaka!”, ref’s looking the exact wrong way during tag team mayhem, Chief Jay Strongbow’s ‘spirit’ rising from an almost limp state into tomahawk chops and the bow-and-arrow submission hold victory, the idea THIS is an “essential” business is ludicrous.

This latest TV iteration, with people double-somersaulting over the ropes into the chest of a waiting rival, as we all knew, there was ‘real’ wrestling and pro wrestling. When that Florida story dropped, brother Mike and I discussed Grandpa Sevigny taking us guys and cousins to the television studio for wrasslin’ a couple Saturday mornings when our family visited Tampa as kids.

There was certainly plenty of thumping on each other later.

In the early Eighties I returned to Tampa as a sportswriter, and after watching David VonErich, of the legendary (bad guys) VonErich wrestling family, get disqualified for tossing someone out of the ring over the ropes, I got to interview he and a tag team partner about the lifestyle choice of life on the road, and the body as “office” for a job.

At about 25 myself, making $25 an article (and picking up some scrip for a BBQ place, where the beer was free because they didn’t have a license and they gave you a takeout container of chicken and sides), I even asked him about “the fake factor” and good guy-bad guy economics.

David was one of those “love to hate him” guys, and he said when people were booing him, he was shouting back, “That’s right, and I’m a millionaire!” His plan was “Five more years, then take the wife and retire in Colorado to continue raising palomino show horses.” Not sure if he was kidding about the horses, but he didn’t get there, dying in a plane crash before thirty.

He had a younger brother who died in a wrestling stunt as the “entertainment” factor really blew up in the Hulk Hogan-‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin-The Rock years, when everything was beefcake bodies, steroids, and higher tech drama. VonErich’s death was something with a bad release element while being lowered on a cross from ceiling deal. Boom! glitch became a dead wrestler.

David was demonstrating what’s beneath those turnbuckles so many get their faces bounced off (no, its not a fluffy pillow thing), then sling-shotting off the ropes and bounding loudly across the canvas, when he suddenly jumped up and grabbed a low beam over the ring.

“Hey, you wouldn’t have to worry about missing a drop kick with a guy, you could nail him in the chops EASY like this!

1984 Olympic Greco-Roman gold winner,

Heavyweight Jeff Blatnick

With all due respect to fellow Brockport State (NY) grad Frank Famiano, in his prime as a 126-pound Greco wrestler, but one of the many athletes whose career goals were trashed by the US boycott of the 1980 Olympics in Russia, Jeff’s “I’m one happy dude!” interview on ABC became iconic after the victory.

Jeff was also from Schenectady, NY, and during a Webelos meeting long, long ago, I caught him in a choke hold, then got chased around a car until my Dad came out and I could safely open a door. Not saying I beat him, more like lucky he didn’t squash me against a partition, or catch me before Dad came out.

Jeff was “a real wrestler,” two-time Division II champion, and a three-time All-American, who died in 2012 – Hodgkins got him the third time. Frank Famiano created a profitable “roach coach” coffee truck operation in the mornings so he could continue training another four years for the 1984 Olympics.

Great athletes have a discipline that puts sticking to my keyboard and finishing a presentation into very real perspective.

Anyway, we met while he was competing in the 1983 Empire State (NY) Games, after he beat Hodgkins disease the first time, long before he became the first commissioner of the MMA (mixed martial arts) operation, or beat Hodgkins a second time. With his singlet rolled down, there was a *major* “railroad track” scar down the middle of his chest.

He didn’t know the Russians would boycott the LA Olympics the next year, and he told me that the only person he’d really been afraid of was somebody I mentioned as being the baddest of the bad. They’d changed the weight limits for super-heavies, and this other guy was 280-plus pounds of steel, whose signature move was pile-driving an opponents face-head into the mat.

If that Russian got you up in the air, it was surrender there or risk a broken neck. Turns out the guy becomes a no-show because of Soviet payback for US not coming to their Olympics in 1980. That Jeff admitted that fear again the last time I ran into him, on a cold, windy day in Albany, NY, just two guys on a corner ready to cross the street, kind of gives perspective to what athletes have to consider can happen in an instant.

Jeff never failed to correct writers who called him the first American gold medal winner in Greco-Roman, because long-time buddy Steve Fraser (90kg/198 lb.) had won his gold the night before Jeff.

A nation cried along with a very sweaty Blatnick as he offered a hands-together prayer upwards after the victory, and repeatedly used the “happy dude” phrase while giving thanks to everyone else who had anything to do with his career getting to that lofty spot.

***

STAYING IN PLACE instead of blowing off the social distancing that has made the difference with COVID-19 here in 2020 is still a legitimate piece of discipline. Hang in there America.

Picture 
Glenn Shorkey – Creative eDitorial Talent Enterprises 
(704)502-9947

 

 

 

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