As a young prospect coming up with the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter (pictured, right) was out on the field practicing with veteran first baseman Don Mattingly (on the left). Their practice done, Mattingly and Jeter began walking off the field, headed to the locker room. Leering up at the tinted management office windows of the stadium, Mattingly remarked to Jeter, “We’d better run it in — you never know who’s watching.”
Instead of walking, the two players jogged off the field. [Coincidentally, today Mattingly is manager of the Miami Marlins, and Jeter is the franchise’s CEO.]
I read an article about Derek Jeter during his playing days where he explained his personal work ethic. Jeter said that, if ever he’s out on the field practicing and another player comes out to do their own practice, Derek always made a point of staying out on the field until after the other guy finished and left the field. Even if Jeter’s workout had been almost done when the other player had first come out, it was important for Jeter — and that other player — to know that Jeter had out-worked the guy.
Derek Jeter played 20 seasons for the Yankees, winning 5 World Series titles, making 14 All-Star games, 5 Gold Gloves (best defensive player at his position) and 5 Silver Slugger awards (best hitter at his position). Jeter earned over $260 Million as a player and is a guaranteed first-ballot Hall Of Famer.
I was on the treadmill today, still easing myself back into running from the Achilles tendinitis that has sidelined me for almost a year. When I came into the gym, a woman was running on the treadmill two machines away from me. When I hit my 30-minute time goal, she was still running.
What that meant: I couldn’t stop.
I kept running on mine until she stopped and got off her treadmill, 43 minutes into my (planned 30-minute) run. I added ten additional minutes to my run after she exited, just for good measure.
There’s a popular Will Smith audio clip you’ll hear in motivational videos where Will says, if me and you are both on treadmills, I REFUSE to get off that treadmill before you. It’s either, you’re gonna get off the treadmill first, or I will DIE on that treadmill.
Russell Simmons once recalled meeting a young, skinny, not-yet-established Puff Daddy. Russell, long a fan of working out on the StairMaster, was doing his daily workout when Puff approached and made Russell a proposition: I’ll hop on the StairMaster next to you. If I can stay on it longer than you, you’ll give me a couple hundred dollars to get my Volkswagen fixed.
Russell thought the offer must be a joke. Russell was a daily StairMaster user; this skinny kid Puffy looked like he didn’t even know where the gym was. No way he can beat me on this!
Long story short: Russell gave Puffy the money to get that VW fixed.
For Your Game
- Wouldn’t it be stupid to die on a treadmill, Will Smith? Why would you practice for an extra hour, Derek Jeter, if you’re already done practicing? Why make a “race” with some random woman on a treadmill in the gym, Dre? And, I thought it wasn’t about comparing yourself to other people in the first place? It’s about principle. In the stories above, only Puff Daddy had something tangible to gain from “winning” the competition he’d created. The principle I speak of: winning, outlasting competitors, and being the last (wo)man standing, and whatever it takes to be that — you do it. And, all of life is a competition.
- Dominate your domain. At the time of that article I read, Derek Jeter was The Man on the Yankees. Everyone knew him as The Captain; Jeter was the standard-bearer for his teammates and thousands of fans. Jeter couldn’t allow anyone to even think he had out-worked The Leader, even if it meant pushing a two-hour workout to three hours just to “beat” a teammate who would only be out there for 45 minutes.
- My plan was 30 minutes, and to take it light; I’m returning from injury, after all. I did almost double that, and ran at a faster pace than I would have had I been alone. Well, that’s the game. If winning the game is the goal, you do what you gotta do — even when it’s completely irrational.
Have you ever gone way beyond reason in the name of winning — even just to “win” a competition that only you know exists? Why’d you do it? Reply and share the story with me.