Acting Like You Have Been There Before

joe giolandoThis might be an interesting topic to write about, but I was inspired to write about it while watching the Top 32 matches at YCS Austin. An individual happened to just win his Top 32 match and in his jubilation, pushed back from the table in excitement and made the classic victory comment along the lines of, "Yeah, that's right!" And with that, I realized how important it would be to write an article simply discussing the idea of, acting like you have been there before.

For those of you who do not know, I happen to live about 15 north of Boston and have been an aficionado of Boston sports my entire life.  As much hate as the New England Patriots receive in the eye of the rest of the league, I thoroughly enjoy being able to call myself a fan of not only the team, but the brand. Their consistency to at least be in the mix over the course of the last 10+ years is virtually unmatched, and the guidance of head coach of Bill Belichick has been the driving force behind that. But one thing about Bill is the way he goes about touting the company line, or as is often referred to as - the Patriot Way. The Patriots, Tom Brady and Belichick might seem like the cockiest, most arrogant group of people in the entire league, but it is difficult to see that when you strictly listen to them. There is something different about them, something about the way they carry themselves, something about the simple idea of acting like you have been there before. You will never hear them speak arrogantly about themselves, but they run onto the field with the attitude that they've been there before - this is nothing, until you actually win.

I want to talk about this relationship with Yu-Gi-Oh players for a variety of reasons, because I feel as though this mindset can be deeply beneficial for players as they work their way toward whatever end goal they have. Now, everyone is certainly on a different scale for their own personal goals, but as an example for this article I am going to talk about the general goal of winning a YCS - which is probably a universal of a goal as there can be right now. In relation to the Patriots the goal is always to win the Super Bowl - end of story. Nothing else is an accomplishment. You walk onto the field in the AFC Divisional Round against a Houston Texans team who, quite frankly, has never been there before, and you blow them off the field. There may have been a lot of reasons why, but the look on Defensive End JJ Watt's face at the end of the game told enough of a story to me - the satisfaction of a win the previous round of the playoffs hindered the team's ability to adequately gauge what they actually wanted to accomplish. And the same concept can be true in Yu-Gi-Oh.

For example, I will whole-heartedly attest to the excitement of placing in the Top 32 of a YCS, especially the first time. As a matter of fact, if my previous laptop didn't crash I could find my old tournament report from YCS Dallas 2011. I specifically remember both writing in retrospect, but thinking at the time - the rest is gravy. Wait, are you kidding me? The rest is gravy? Where is the competitive passion in that line of thinking. You want to win. Just win. And you have accomplished nothing until you do that - just win. A wise man once said after I was knocked out of YCS Seattle (or just Steve Silverman), "Ten tops, ten failures." And it is just so true. If you allow your mind to start thinking that you have something to celebrate when you have yet to truly accomplish your ultimate goal, you're only handicapping yourself. Act like you have been there before. Win an intense three game match on the bubble of a YCS? I know what you want to do, trust me. But sit there, extend your hand and tell your opponent it was a good game. You have five more matches left. Five.

And that transitions into the second topic regarding this idea I want to talk about today. This might sound like a bit of a pet peeve of mine, and honestly, it probably can be considered that. And I want to make it clear that this has nothing to do with something that has directly happened to me before. But, as I alluded to in the introduction, over the top celebrations certainly does not coincide with the concept of acting like you have been there before. Meaning, an elaborate celebration because you won in the Top 32, in front of your opponent none the less, one is poor sportsmanship to your opponent, but shows you have lost sight of what you should be truly focusing on. Every tournament you enter has two possible conclusions: euphoria or a crash landing. Why expend all of your emotion when you still have work to do? Obviously I haven't experienced it, but building up all the emotion and energy of an event until the absolute end will yield a truly euphoric moment. That is the goal right?

And to talk more so on the idea of sportsmanship, which is really the second underlying purpose for writing this article. I guess it is all relative to each individual, but we all clearly care enough about this game to travel and attend YCS events. As I just said, euphoria or crash landing, is there really a need for multiplying the damage of an opponent's crash landing? Chances are, you'll be there soon enough. There is always an appropriate time for celebration, and this is an emotional game, but think about the guy across the table.

The real message to take away from this article is the idea of holding yourself up to a high standard on your journey towards the ultimate goal, whatever that may be. And you can easily find yourself artificially constructing mental blockades when you exhaust your emotional build up too early. Think about it, just win. If you do that, you'll be celebrating at the end. Which is all we really want.

Joe Giorlando

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