“You are what you continually do–just do what you do!” This is what my dear friend Kirk Walker, UCLA assistant softball coach told me as we headed to the Super Six Gymnastics Championship finals on Saturday night. I found it very appropriate, encouraging and stress-relieving. We all have a default setting. What we do today, tomorrow and the day after is our default. We like to imagine that we are going to be different in varying situations–which can and sometimes does happen–but outside those rare exceptions we should find comfort knowing we’re likely to rise and fall to the level of our default.
This is what makes daily actions so important. It’s through practice and repetition that we form habits. It’s through these habits that we begin to create a lifestyle. And it’s through our lifestyle and the actions we continue to take within it that builds our character. This cannot be gained or lost in a single instance.
One moment may be what people remember, but it’s not what defines us. This weekend on her very last routine, redshirt senior Christine Peng-Peng Lee mesmerized the arena in St. Louis during Super Six to score her very first Perfect 10 on beam at UCLA. Without question it’s a moment that will be remembered and cherished forever. But for those who know Peng, they’ve already seen that her default is a Perfect 10. Day in and day out Peng goes above and beyond. Peng’s beam routine Saturday night was merely Peng doing what she always does, strive for excellence. How exciting that the rest of the world had an opportunity to see and acknowledge it on the biggest stage our collegiate environment has to offer.
I believe you can peak at certain moments. In fact, it’s part of my job as a coach to get our team to peak at the appropriate time at the end of season. What I can’t do is change the default setting. How we operate and how we work every… single… day… is who we are. There’s comfort in that… knowing that the lights will go out, the chalk dust will settle and the cheers will fade. The work we put in every day to be better athletes, coaches, students, and people in general will last a lifetime. This is a foundation we can count on.
Photo courtesy Bill