A couple weekends ago I found myself getting home around midnight after more than my fair share of celebratory IPAs and an ill-advised whiskey nightcap. Sleep was a major need but it wasn’t going to come my way. I was still buzzing from the high of my friend Keanu Asing requalifying for the Championship Tour. So I decided to throw on one of my favorite movies of all time, Platoon. One of the great scenes in the movie is when Tom Berenger’s vicious Sgt. Barnes walks in on a group of soldiers plotting to kill him. The scene ends with Barnes muttering the iconic line “Death…what do you all know about death???”
Now let me offer a little background to explain this morbid reference being the motivation for the theme of this story:
I absolutely hate the word grind. It is easily the most shamelessly overused term on social media today, especially in the context of the sports and training worlds. It’s not that I don’t believe in the notion of grinding. I just hate how it is constantly bastardized in posts and hashtags for what Westside Barbell legend Dave Tate brilliantly called “doing what you are supposed to do!”
There are a select few that actually are out there grinding – persevering in the face of endless obstacles to eventually achieve success in their journey. And the bastardization of the word means many of these people are lost in the shuffle. If you look at the last year of Keanu Asing’s life, you will agree he’s one of those select few.
Grinding is overcoming the fact that you were the first professional surfer to ever win a CT event and fail to re-qualify for the next year’s Tour.
Grinding is losing your biggest sponsor and having to fund your travel around the world to compete on the QS the following year.
Grinding is being the only recent CT surfer at multiple QS 1,000 and 3,000 pt events, putting your head down, and winning them.
Grinding is being the underdog in every heat you surfed against a CT surfer, something the broadcast teams never failed to remind the audience of.
Grinding is training whenever possible in the midst of all this. And even more important, taking your nutrition, supplementation, and recovery as seriously as anyone in the sport
Grinding is coming to grips with the fact you may not be as talented or as radical as the guys you’re competing against, yet relying on your preparation, heat strategy, mental toughness, and consistency to earn victories
So was all this grinding worth it? Well, Keanu’s year consisted of three WQS wins and one CT appearance (Quik Pro France), competing every three weeks on average until he finally earned enough points in early December to finish 9th on the QS, guaranteeing one of the final spots for the 2018 Championship Tour. So however you choose to look at it, there’s no denying Keanu Asing’s 2017 is a textbook example of the word “grind.”