So. June 5th. 2pm. Tryouts.
It’s the day that everyone talks about. The day that will push you past your limits. Take you to places haven’t been. And really test if you’ve got the mental strength and kahoonas to get through these next 6 months.
There is so much hype and pressure leading up to this day that honestly I really tried to not think about it. Anytime someone asked me about it I replied “what tryouts?”. And whenever I started to think about it, I forced myself to look the other way because this was the only way I knew how to deal with it. I’ve been warned, and I’ve witnessed the intensity of the tryouts several times, and surprisingly it didn’t manage to lower the anxiety in any way. There is something so confronting about doing something you have never done but viewed enough times to realise that it’s going to be bloody difficult. The anticipation of the build up is the worst part. Leading up to the tryouts the thought of June 5 meant excuses and explanations for failure would bounce around my head. I would think about the difficulty of the day, the struggle that would follow if I were successful not to mention that I was going to miss my favourite fighter Cruz beat Faber.
However on the day of tryouts, my perspective seem to change. Somehow I managed to turn the anxiety and negativity into excitement and eagerness. I think I came to the realisation that the day was here, and there was no more opportunity to escape it. I could confront the problem head on. I realised that one way or another I was going to step onto those mats. Get through the horrors that were about to be thrown at me. And hours later step back off them and go home. At the end of the day, I would still be breathing (probably more like a wheezing), but ultimately I would still be alive. And if I was going to have to go through the agony I may as well try and enjoy it as much as possible.
So 2 pm hit Cruz’s fight was about to start and of course at that moment we were asked to step onto the mats and take a seat. I sat down, began stretching and patiently waited. After several minutes, the coaches joined us on the mats and talked us through the next few hours. After being given the house rules and repeatedly warned to “not puke on the mats under any circumstance” the tryouts were under way. We got a physical assessment to check our movement and then were sent over to get interviewed. After all of that was completed the real stuff began!
Now I don’t want to ruin the mystery that is the tryouts for any future contestants but let me just say that it wasn’t your average conditioning session like I was trying to convince myself it was. It was tough. But none the less I had a bunch of fun. There is something about being pushed to my limits, while being surrounded by a bunch of people that all have the same goal in mind that is motivating. Somehow sharing a hatred for the coaches yelling at you, a deep burn in muscles you didn’t even know existed and sweating out the what seems like the Pacific ocean allows you to gain a sense of comradery with people who’s names you don’t even know. It’s one of the most astonishing parts of this series that I am yet to figure out and the strength of the bonds created within minutes with complete strangers manages to make you push yourself harder and keep moving. And with that inspiration around me, I managed to get through with positive thoughts in my head and smile on my face and step off the mats.
— If today was anything to show the next 6 months are going to be a hell of a ride, but taking each day as it comes, putting one foot in front of the other, I think I may make it out alive 🙂