By Sally Long Conway with Rachel Cutrer
As the “Summer Run” of stock shows, junior nationals, fairs, and rodeos is really kicking off in the coming weeks, I have a challenge and reminder to fellow livestock and rodeo contestants:
You chose to enter and you also have a choice in your attitude regardless of the outcome.
I realize there is disappointment when things don’t go well. You didn’t get stalled where you want. You didn’t like the judging. Your entries got misplaced. Your hotel reservation got lost.
But it is very irritating to hear contestants excessively whining, complaining and feeling sorry for themselves when they aren’t winning. Or even acting like they are some sort of soldier for enduring the trials of the show and rodeo trail.
Because there are plenty of people enduring hardships that they didn’t sign up for.
YOU LITERALLY ENTERED THIS SHOW, on purpose.
There are people fighting things they didn’t ask for: cancer, grief, disabilities, addiction, depression, poverty.
I just wanted to put that little reminder out there, because perspective can do a lot for the attitude.
Sure, summer stock shows and summer rodeos bring on a lot of stress. It’s hot. You’ve travelled long distances to get there. There’s so much on the line. You’re up for hours on end with very little rest. But remember, it’s a privilege and blessing to be able to be there.
So for all those entered and competing in these coming weeks, my challenge to everyone regardless of how it is going: choose gratitude.
Be thankful you get the opportunity that most would love to have, be thankful for the horse your on, the calf you’re leading, the pig you’re drive….because most DREAM to have an animal that nice.
Be thankful for the places you get to go and people you get to meet. How many other people from your local group of friends are getting the summer experiences you are?
Be thankful for your truck and trailer that get you there, (even when they inconvenience you because there are plenty of people that still rely on public transportation to get to work).
Be thankful for the people who help you. Even though they can be irritating at times. Even though things can get heated in the moments of competition and even family members or close friends can say hurtful things. There are so many individuals who DON’T have a family support network, or any support network at all. There are many individuals wishing they had someone to turn to and help them.
Whenever you feel tempted to complain, try making a list of 5 things your grateful for.
I’m grateful for the freedom to compete.
I’m grateful for the financial stability to travel and enter shows.
I’m grateful people care enough about me to help me in my quest.
I’m grateful for these miraculous animals in my life, and what they are helping me become.
I’m grateful for volunteers who love this sport so much they dedicate their time to organizing these events.
And much, much more.
I realize this is the livelihood for many and there are pressures associated with that. However, being a rodeo cowboy, a rodeo cowgirl, a showman, or a fitter is a job that most would love to have.
Appreciate that you are in a select group that GETS to do what you love. I’m not taking away from the hard work it requires to make that happen, but just rather a reminder to be appreciative. If it makes you miserable, McDonalds is always hiring.
It may be brash, but I can be candid because I truly used to be a really sorry loser. However, life humbled me. It taught me that losing in the arena or at any sport is rather irrelevant in comparison to some of the struggles people face in this life.
So good luck to all my friends, and remind yourself that win or lose, you still have a choice.