You might know that I originally funded CFOx by selling my extensive baseball card collection. Being a kid in the midwest, sports were everything, and I know I have seen the greatest sports event in history. No, it wasn’t the ‘Miracle on Ice‘. I wasn’t old enough to realize the magnitude of Team USA upset the Soviets in the 1980 Winter Olympics. While I was alive to see the Red Sox come back down three games to none against the Yankees in the 2004 World Series, that’s not it either. While Kirk Gibson’s walk off home run for the Dodgers in the 1988 World Series off Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley still gives me chills to this day, it’s not the greatest moment in sports. It’s not the infamous ‘Immaculate Reception’ in the 1972 AFC playoff. It wasn’t “Down Goes Fraiser” or the breaking of the four minute mile or the Michael Jordan controlling Game 6.
The greatest moment in all of sports was 2131.
On September 6, 1995, I stayed up to watch Cal Ripken Jr. step into immortality. On that night, he broke a record that everyone knew would never be broken again. For two thousand one hundred and thirty-one games in a row, Cal showed up to play. The ‘Iron Man’ showed up and kept a streak that will never be touched. Through injury, competition, heartache, fatigue, family disputes, personal issues, low performance, and the weight of time, Cal showed up for work. To put this in perspective, the next closest active player to this record is in just the hundreds of consecutive games.
Not only is the sheer volume and consistency virtually impossible to replicate, we now live in a different time. Cal taught us a lesson that we don’t heed very often today. Legend and glory is all too often placed in thing that are new and exciting. With the explosion of tech in the Information Age, businesses are built overnight, with nothing, that produce nothing, and can scale for billions on the open market. With dating apps in mainstream us, we can move in and out of relationships in minutes without even a face-to-face meeting to consummate or cancel the deal. We continue to embrace trends that come and go with increasing velocity, but we fail to recognize the true rarity that is the slow burn. Do we even understand commitment to someone or something? I’m talking about the value of keeping your mouth shut and putting out excellent work until everyone else quits and, when the dust settles, there’s nothing left but indisputable honor and respect.
It’s not fancy or exciting, but the individuals who can show up and put forth an effort indefinitely are a rarer and rarer breed. In the fitness world, lots of folks come in and shake things up for a few years, but there’s another kind of glory for those who silently log their time.
Are we glorifying change where we should be praising constancy? Is the sex appeal of that which is new improperly stealing the thunder of that which is reliable? In a world hung up on smoke and mirrors, be like Cal. Be known as the guy or the girl that is in it for the long haul. Outlast Honey Moon phases. Endure novelty and settle into the reality of mundane excellence. After all, just knowing how to show up might get you in the Hall of Fame one day.
Kettlebell Swings (53/35)