The Bitter and the Sweet

Hammer Wrestling School Naperville, Illinois

For those of you who have seen the movie “Vanilla Sky” you can appreciate this great quote by the character, Brian Shelby. He states, “Because without the bitter, baby, the sweet ain’t as sweet.” This quote is so very true. It is our hard work and the trials and tribulations we undergo daily that truly allow us to appreciate our triumphs. It is the blood, sweat, and tears that one puts into the pursuit of a goal that make the achievement of it that much sweeter.

In our victories we graciously look back at how we go there. We remember the bumps in the road. The failures and setbacks. We can literally feel the bitter moments when we felt as if we might quit…and maybe even did give up for a short time. Our memory flashes to the hard-ass workouts and practices that broke us mentally and physically until we literally had nothing left. We can almost relive the resulting feeling of euphoria that numbs our senses as we pick ourselves up off the ground and just know that we got tougher today. Few can say that their bodies have survived such a beating. This moment is what all of us eagerly strive towards. The moment of true clarity. Where all in the world makes sense and everything we did to get to this point has purpose and was all worth it.

I truly believe that this is why the world has sports. It is my hope that this is the exact reason why you wrestle. In very few other areas of life can one experience this grand occurrence. In all honesty, I’m not sure it can be replicated. It is a one of a kind instance that only a certain population can say they have experienced. This is exactly why I coach. I want others to know the “sweet” and I want to be a part of their journey, enduring both, the “bitter” and the “sweet”, together.

On the flip side of this, one can utilize this knowledge to overcome the “bitter”. When things start spinning out of control and nothing seems to be going right; simply remember that this is just teaching you about the bitter part of life so that you can enjoy the sweeter part when you get there. Overcome the obstacle. Fight through the pain. Live and breathe in the bitter. Accept it. Embrace it. Embrace it with the unfaltering belief that you will one day look back on this day in success. And in that day you will know that it was all worth it.

The bitter makes us tougher. It makes us better. Better wrestlers. Better people. It keeps us humble and hungry. Don’t try to escape or run from the bitter moments in life. Seize them and utilize them as opportunities to improve. Use the bitter as drive and motivation towards the sweet. Because remember, “without the bitter, baby, the sweet ain’t as sweet”

Karl Bratland