The Power of Motivation

Posted on Posted in Backblasts
  • When: 09/21/2020
  • QIC: Slash
  • The PAX: Mr. Yuck; 3peat (respect), Zamboni, Saigon Sam (respect), Bada Boom, Shirley (respect), Valdez, Left Turn, Air Bags (respect), Check Please

At the Monday HN beatdown, YHC welcomed nine men – no, wait! Ten! As there’s Mr. Yuck, stealthily emerging out of the gloom and into the warm-up mosey so seamlessly that YHC couldn’t bring himself to impose 10 penalty burpees! YHC is getting soft in his old age… That aside… It may be September 21st, but this morning, we time-warped back to Groundhog Day, as we recognized the 70th birthday of William James Murray, better known to the world as actor Bill Murray.

Murray is famous for his Saturday Night Live stint in the mid-1970s and then going on to Hollywood stardom in Stripes, Ghostbusters, Scrooged, and of course, the classic Groundhog Day, a movie that, despite its name, never grows old.

In Groundhog Day, Murray plays Phil Connor, a jerky, self-focused TV weatherman who goes to Gobbler’s Knob, PA, to report on Groundhog Day. (Memorable line: “This is one occasion where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather,” Phil sneers to camera.) For whatever reason, Phil gets trapped in a time loop, where he awakens to the same day over and over.

Initially, he embraces a life of hedonism, indulging in gluttony, theft, one-night stands, etc., and he goes on to wallow in despair, engaging in reckless behavior and suicide. Phil is the quintessential sad clown.

But over time, he sees this self-indulgent behavior for what it is – an empty, unfulfilling trap. There is nothing bad enough he can do to keep reliving Groundhog day over and over and over.

And then something wonderful happens.

Instead of accepting his nihilistic existence, Phil begins to learn, to grow, to take interest in others. In a powerful scene – perhaps the on-ramp of Phil’s highway to enlightenment – he tries, but fails, to save an old vagrant. Morally awakened by the cold inescapability of death, Phil embarks on a spree of good deeds – catching a kid falling out of a tree, changing a tire for senior citizens, saving someone from choking.

Along the way, he comes to feel love for the woman that he once tried to bed out of lust, his co-worker,Rita. Phil comes to put others before the self, and in doing so, he earns Rita’s redemptive love, and thus breaks the time loop.

YHC’s version of Groundhog Day was a bit less poignant and certainly less humorous than the movie. In keeping with the Groundhog Day theme, the beatdown consisted of repeating recent workouts with the Pax, with three rounds of work.

The first round: the golf ball bucket drill, where we teamed up, and while P1 was running to move a golf ball from one bucket to the other, P2 was doing merkins. Swap positions when P1 returns. We alternated between merkins and LBCs. YHC apologized for the monotony of repeating a drill we recently did, but asked the Pax do its best, and the Pax cranked it out. But as we would soon see, the Pax was capable of far exceeding YHC’s request to do its best.

Second round of work: 20 exercises, each exercise lasting 28 seconds, with seven seconds of rest before the next exercise, with some of the exercises involving coupons (pavers).

For the third round of work, we repeated the golf ball bucket drill. Groundhog day, indeed! But this time, there was a twist. YHC had surreptitiously timed the first golf ball bucket drill; we finished in 7 minutes and 47 seconds. YHC wanted to see if he could motivate the Pax to beat that time this go-around.

Motivation comes in different forms, often the carrot and the stick. In Groundhog Day, Phil’s carrot was Rita; his desire for her requited love compelled him to become a better person. With the Pax, YHC’s choice of motivation was the stick, or more precisely, the threat of burpees – 25 of them if we did not beat our previous time by at least 40 seconds. Fueled on by a puzzling distaste for burpees, the Pax came through, comfortably beating the deadline, with 3Peat bringing home the final ball in fine form. Ah, the power of motivation!

One other thought about Groundhog Day. While chatting about it as we disbanded, Left Turn noted how cool it was that toward the end of the movie, other characters found out all these remarkable things about Phil that they had never suspected (he’s an ice sculptor; a piano player, etc). Left Turn can put it better than I, but noted that’s a good way to live one’s life, essentially, doing good things and improving upon yourself without drawing attention to it. Amen to that.

Fourth round of the IPC – featuring 250 yards of murder bunnies – on Wednesday.
Prayers for Zamboni’s father, for Hat Trick’s father, for those on IR, for needs unspoken.

Always a pleasure.

Leave a Reply