Heres A Look At The Biggest One-Sided Rivalries In Sports Achieve Your Goals By Getting in The Ring And Having A Go

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Achieve Your Goals By Getting in The Ring And Having A Go

Spectators often show great bravery when they are well out of range of the pain, problems and criticism that go with taking action towards an ambitious goal. It is the people who get in the ring and make every effort to win who deserve respect whether they win or lose.

Only a brave elite actually get into the arena where they face the extra hard knocks that life throws at those who take action towards extraordinary goals. This elite can teach several key lessons about motivation and goal achievement.

One such elite is made up of those who become a Blue. A University Sporting Blue is an award earned by sportsmen and women at Cambridge, Oxford, and other universities for competing at the highest level of university sport.

For many male students, becoming a Blue represents the essence of masculinity. Blues get the girls and the glory. They are Blues for the rest of their lives. Oxford Blues can wear a dark blue jacket once they have reached their goal of becoming a Blue. Many students are willing to work hard for this jacket. When the going gets tough, they need to remind themselves again and again of the benefits of becoming a Blue.

In February 2008, a documentary was shown on UK TV about five Oxford students who wanted to become Oxford Boxing Blues by getting on the team that would represent Oxford against Cambridge in the Varsity or University boxing competition of 2004. They would get the Blue whether they won or lost but would obviously feel more deserving if they won.

Each student had their own motivation for getting a Blue. Their motivation probably included those mentioned earlier. Powerful motivation is a key factor in achieving any goal and so is revisiting that motivation again and again.

Charles Ogilvy, a talented singer, understood that many people take up boxing because they worry about whether they are a coward or not. They want to put their minds at rest. His own key motivation was to make his mark at Oxford: “I had a real fear that I would pass through this place as another anonymous face.”

Justin was one of the most ambitious squad members. He is an American Air Force-trained, Christian astrophysicist. He had already made his mark in life by doing sky diving. He had also done scuba diving with white sharks!

He explained his motivations in the documentary: “Why not just live big? I have two speeds hard and much harder. My father is my role model He just gives whatever he does everything. I want a Phd in astrophysics. I fully believe in Jesus Christ.”

Fred Brown, a biochemist on a scholarship, had his own theories on boxing to test. “If I get into the ring and the other kid is better than me – is he going to be better than me if I break his ribs or hit him on the jaw?”

Fred had something of the street fighter about him. Most street fighters do not want to find out how good a fighter their opponent is. They would rather hit first, knock him cold and thus remain in ignorance of his possibly superior skills! Their key motivation is to win fast and survive!

Boiler, a mathematician, was motivated by challenges: “If it was easy, I wouldn’t do it. If people tell me I can’t get into Oxford, I will. I know that if I want to get into the team, I will have to train hard.”

Chris Kavanagh, a philosophy student, wanted to test his ability to take hard knocks: “I don’t do it to get fit. Getting into that ring is what it is all about.”

He achieved this goal early on in training when he was sparring in the ring. He was hit on the nose. He looked surprised and shocked. Des, the experienced Oxford Head Boxing Coach said: “Welcome to boxing! Have a breather.”

Many would be boxers give up the first time they get hit on the nose but Chris was made of sterner stuff. An assistant coach commented later: “You never know whose going to last. Some of these boys get a bop on the nose and you never ever see them again. They don’t realise that they can only get better with experience. “

Not only boxers quit at the first hard knock. Potential pianists give up when they face the extra difficulty of trying to play with both hands. Potential cooks give up when they burn the main course! Singers give up, like me, when they are thrown out of the choir!

Another assistant coach, Jim, realised the importance of motivation by desire: “In sixteen weeks, you have to get them fit and teach them how to box and get this fiery instinct into them. They’ve got to want to do it.” Jim’s own motivation to box is a common one in most tough sports: “When I finished training I felt that good.”

Justin told his team mates much the same thing: “I can’t run for you. Punish yourself! Punish yourself! You’ve got to dig deeper than Cambridge! You’ve got to want it more than Cambridge!” Your main motivator has to be yourself!

However, spectators can also motivate you. Every one wants to look good in front of others. On one occasion, some spectators visited the gym. Des told his trainees: “Let’s look the part. Have some pride! We’ve got people watching!”

The students were taking some hard knocks in their training. Charlie described the results: “A couple of nights in a row I’ve been waking up with a mouth full of blood and feeling sick from swallowing the blood.” He sought medical advice and then carried on training. He knew how easy it is to make excuses for not getting in the ring.

Des set up a trial bout for Boiler, a prospective heavyweight, against a Sandhurst man who was supposed to be at the same level as Boiler but wasn’t! He was already a powerful puncher and had the fitness necessary to keep throwing solid punches. He just waded into Boiler like a whirlwind. Boiler did not know what had hit him and lost the fight.

Boiler felt down but not out: “That’s the most humiliating thing I’ve ever done in my life. To get beaten like that in front of your dad and close friends is pretty tough to take. I don’t quit; there’s no way. From now on we up the training. That will never happen again!” The very next day he was back in the gym.

Chris Kavanagh was given a fight in a Town v Gown match. He was dominated in the first round but came to life in the second and fought back. He lost the fight but was told he had done well considering the short time he had been training.

He was happy despite losing: “I gave some and I took some.” His girlfriend looked truly horrified at what he took. This raised the question: “Does getting a Blue outweigh the negative of people not wanting me to do it?” In the end he decided it didn’t and did not return to the boxing club.

Des explained his love of boxing: “It is hard to understand. There are highs in life. When the referee puts your hand up that’s one of life’s highs.”

Justin was chosen as a welterweight after losing weight: “I’ve given up fourteen pounds of my own body to get my Blue.”

Charlie was selected as a middleweight and Fred as a lightweight after he showed he could ride a powerful shot. Boiler’s courage in training the day after his hammering at Sandhurst helped to win him a place as a heavy weight.

Charlie was sneezing the night before the match against Cambridge: “I wouldn’t be surprised if I have a temperature. I’m not going to investigate that in case I do. It’s a case of get it over and done with now.”

Some one said “No one likes Cambridge it would be so sweet to shut them up!” Rivalry has been a powerful motivation since Cain killed Abel.

Justin had plenty of advice for the team: “Start visualising now. Blot out the lights and the crowds – they don’t matter. This is going to be the most selfish six minutes of your life.”

The 2004 Varsity boxing match took place in the Oxford Town Hall. Des tried to calm the Oxford team: “This is what it is all about. You represent Oxford, yourself and me. Of course you’re going to be nervous. I was nervous every time. Don’t listen to the crowd and the heckling. That’s called the bravery of being out of range.” What a powerful line! Too many ‘enjoy the bravery of being out of range.’

Justin lost the first round in his match but came back in the second and third rounds. He lost the match but was later awarded the best boxer trophy.

Justin commented:”I did my best.” “You did brilliant!” said Des. Justin also consoled himself with this thought: “What is really important is sticking close to your God.”

At this stage, Charlie had his game plan worked out: “I’m going to be throwing out my right all the time.” He also planned on sticking out his left arm to stop his opponent getting near enough to hit him.

Next up was Fred. The coach told him: “Box to win! That’s what you are here for.” Fred started well and knocked the Cambridge man down. However, the Cambridge boxer got up and came back strongly to win the fight. The crowd booed the judges’ decision.

Boiler started his contest well but, eventually, his Cambridge opponent hit him with a string of powerful punches and the fight was stopped.

Des consoled Boiler: “Hey! You got in there and you did it. You had a go! You’re in the ring. They’re all just watching. You’ve done it. Be proud of yourself.”

Later, Boiler commented: “The struggle and the way you do it is more important than the actual result a lot of the time.”

So far none of the Oxford Blues had won a match. Charlie now had the opportunity to restore some Oxford pride. Des spoke earnestly to him:

“Charlie, listen to me! Keep your hands high! Throw some straight punches Left, rights is all I want. Hey, look! Look as if you want it! Let’s have some anger. You’re not going in there to waltz about. You’re going in mean! Prove it then! Let’s see some aggression! Let the punches flow, Charlie! You gotta do it!” Charlie took a standing count but then started fighting back.

“Brilliant, Charlie boy! We’re not intimidated by that bully boy! Now get your breath back. One more round and you are the star of the show! Let’s be brave, Charlie. Look around at the crowd. They all want it from you. C’mon bruv! Let’s have it! Hands high! Be ready!”

Charlie won! At last, a win for Oxford! The crowd went mad and at least one couple kissed each other!

Near the end of the documentary, Chris Kavanagh, who had quit, was shown punting on the river and reflecting about life: “One of the philosophers said that life was a struggle from birth to death. There is hard work to be done. You have to take hard knocks if you want to do good things. The experience of fighting in the ring is something that trains you to fight for the rest of your life.”

Charlie went on to captain the university ballroom dancing team. Fred passed his first year exams and hitchhiked to Morocco. Justin still ‘has his eyes on the stars’. Boiler graduated with honours in Maths. Kavanagh still dreams of his fighting days and has not ruled out a comeback. Des is still on the lookout for young hopefuls.

What can we learn from this elite? Get in the ring and have a go! Ignore the criticisms and jeers of those who are well out of range of risk or danger! Become a doer and not a watcher!

Use the fact that people might be watching you to help you do your best! Take up challenges to test yourself and find out what you are capable of!

Don’t give up the first time you get a hard knock! You will improve if you keep going. Keep going even if you suffer humiliation and failure. Dig deep and want it more than your competitors. Motivate yourself!

Make your mark before you leave your place of work or study or this planet. Live big and give every experience your best effort.

Achieving your goals will be one of the big highs of life. You will feel great! Even if you don’t win or achieve your goal you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you had a go. You were a real contender. You were in the ring!

Remind yourself frequently of all the benefits that will come from achieving your goals and read the following quote from Theodore Roosevelt daily:

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

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