foul. foul. foul. foul. foul. foul. The End.
That was my response when my best friend asked me how the competition went, and really, there wasn’t really much else to say about it. I’m pretty sure I had nightmares last night about raised red flags.
One of my goals in life is to run really fast for about 40 meters and then jump as far as I can without going over a 1.2 meter (4 inch) board they’ve slapped down at the end of the runway. Those 4 inches matter and I spend a great deal of time trying to master the art of not jumping even a centimeter past where I’m supposed to. Yesterday, I simply failed that test miserably.
There were plenty of people who tried to tell me I jumped well, but I would beg to differ. The best basketball player is not the one who wins the slam dunk contest or shoots the most 3 pointers during the All-Star game. Being a good long jumper is jumping well in competition and having them count by mastering the art of taking off from where I’m supposed to. I cannot put my best up against the best in the U.S. or the World if my jumps never even get recorded.
The last time I can remember completely fouling out of a competition (recorded no fair jumps) was back in 2004 at the Olympic Trials. It took me a while to realize that an occurrence like that was not simply bad luck or unfortunate circumstance, but a lack of mental focus that you need to have in this sport. The same is true for yesterday. Fouling happens in this event but six times in a row, being just about a toenails distance each and every time, is something I need to take ownership of and fix in my head more than anything else.
The good news is (besides saving money on my auto insurance) is that I am jumping well at this point in the season. I would definitely have a bigger problem on my hands if I was recording a bunch of jumps that were terrible and having to figure out that issue to solve. I am looking forward to my outdoor season and will be ready to put my best jumps against the top competitors in the world… and have them count.