I’m sitting here trying to think and type and edit; all those extremely difficult functions of a technologically inclined life, made more difficult by the fact that my whole body is sore, my wrist might be sprained, and I feel a little bit concussed. What dark alley did you get cornered in—you ask. Don’t worry; these are just the happy war wounds of BYU night gaming.

Sushi tag—not an Asian delicacy, but an everlasting wrestling match and a race for victory is what maimed me. The game goes like this; there are two rows of people sitting on the ground. One person is “it” and he calls two to three people from the first row to try to run up and tag him, but the people sitting behind the chosen first rowers have to try to prevent them from getting up there via any semi-sane method they choose.

As you can probably imagine by fusing the information in the two paragraphs above, this game is laced with intensity and inevitably injury. It’s worth the wounds though, because in no other area of my life is the objective so clear or the victory so satisfying as in this game.

Apparently it makes me a little crazy though because while in the midst of another death match, I heard a nearby pair say “dang, she’s tough”, and when that round ended, the person that had been holding me back said, “It’s like wrestling with an alligator!” I can assure you that my energies in other areas of my life, no matter how hard I have tried, have never inspired comments like these about me. The obstacle is painful, but because the goal seems so attainable, you push yourself harder and for longer than you ever would otherwise.

Despite the fact that my efforts were comparable to those of the scaley monster that haunted my dreams as a child; in three plus hours of playing this game, I probably only won twice. The initial sentiment that it left me with was that a lot of my life has been like that; playing the best I’ve ever played, but the scoreboard still says my team lost, wrestling like an alligator to get what I want and still losing it to somebody else.

I went to sleep that night feeling jaded, not just in the game, but in the way that a lot of the guaranteed victories in my life turned out to be losses. But now it is three days later and my muscles are still aching and my abrasions are lingering and it has made me realize that those losses aren’t even comparable because I have never worked that hard or that long for anything before.

Aye, there’s the rub; the times when I thought I was really working pretty hard for something, I really wasn’t giving half of what I know that I could have been giving. It’s like when your elementary school teacher says “raise your arms up as high as they can go”, and so you’re reaching and then they say “now an inch higher” and everyone in the class moves an inch higher. But if they had already reached as high as they could, how could there be an inch higher to go?

I’ve let the things I really care about fall victim to what I wanted in the moment. Like, I say that I’ve been working really hard to eat better and exercise regularly, but when it comes down to it I wanted that ice cream more than I wanted to create better habits, and I wanted gratuitous amounts of sleep more than I wanted to get up and strengthen myself.

Playing the alligator made me realize that I have been stuck in the rut of working as hard as it was comfortable to work and calling it my best. But my aching body is making me realize that it’s time I recommit myself to reaching that full inch higher from the beginning and always wrestling with adversity like an alligator. Only in that will I find true victory, and if not, my victory will be the strength that I gain from fighting for it.