A friend of mine brought something to my attention the other day that kind of made me think about and analyze the whole ‘judging experience’. After spending a week on the road, both practicing and attending a couple of contests, she asked me how the trip was. I explained to her how our trip started out with just a couple of people with slight illnesses but after spending a week in close contact with one another, every one of us caught the ‘mystery illness’ (oh no, hope it wasn’t…).
Anyway, I continued to explain that it might have spread due to the fact that we were standing in muddy cattle pens in very cold temperatures, under damp, misty and somewhat foggy skies. Think I might have seen something similar to the sun a few times. Over the course of the week our van became overly strewn with tissues and every voice became raspy and nasal. Each convenience store stop brought more cold medication and more cough drops. Except one stop, which brought us much more.
One break left us wishing we couldn’t smell as well as still could anyway. Grady came back from the restroom with a oily spot on his shirt and got in the van without a word. It wasn’t long before this very strong, cheap musky cologne smell penetrated the entire van. It was not long before someone asked Grady about the spot on his shirt.
“Oh, there was a machine in the restroom where you put in a quarter, stand close and it squirts out cologne on you.” He explained.
Wow! The only thing worse than the perfume in the beauty shop on senior’s day is a .25 cologne spritz from a truck stop restroom. I don’t think Grady will ever fully be able to remove that spot from his shirt.
So after explaining all of the perils of the week, she said, “Wow, sounds terrible.”
I was totally caught off guard by this comment. “What? Absolutely not! It was a really great trip!” I responded.
I went home and really gave some thought to her interpretation of our trip and why I did not see it like that at all and I came up with a few ideas about this. I think people that judge at the level that our judging team has reached might be different in some respects.
First, we are all highly competitive and we consistently reach for more. In doing so, I don’t think we see challenges as most people might. To us, challenges are just one more ‘hurdle’ that we believe we can conquer. The more hurdles placed in our way, the harder we work and the sweeter the victory. Our trip was amazing because we met the challenges head on and we went on to dominate at the Stockman Contest.
I think some people see themselves as victims of their lives, victims of the state of affairs of the world. The Butler Livestock Judging Team never see’s themselves as victims, no matter the circumstances. We only see challenges as one more hurdle that we will work hard to cross—and it is in the crossing itself where we find the fuel that drives us on to do it all again.
I have no doubt that each and everyone of my teammates will go on to lead highly successful lives. I do doubt however, that any one of them will ever find themselves a ‘victim’ of life. I am not quite sure whether the livestock judging itself gave us this perspective on life or whether we were all drawn to judging because this is an inherent trait. Either way, I’m so proud to be a part of it! I hope I always see the glass as half full!
“A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all – he’s walking on them” – Leonard Louis Levinson
Even, as in our case, if the cloud was a little spritz of truck stop cologne.