The Speech I Never Got to Give
You know how some people have those voices that just penetrate your very being?
My brother Eric has that kind of voice. He could walk into an underground concrete dungeon, whisper two words, and every sleeping baby in a four-mile radius would wake up screaming. His voice just carries like that.
I don’t have that kind of voice. I could grab the person with the world’s best hearing by the shoulders, stare them straight in the eyes, shout “WATCH OUT!” with perfect enunciation, and they would scratch their head and say, “What? I can’t hear you.” I’ve always wondered why some voices are easy to hear and others aren’t.
Anyways… Tough Mudder. And the pre-Mudder speech I had written but never gave.
After arriving that morning, we all checked-in at the event, signed the “if you die don’t blame us” waivers, and congregated in Mudder Village before we started.
As it turned out, 42 people is a lot of people to have on a single team. We were a giant sea of Navy Blue, turquoise, and gold (though don’t tell anyone, I think we we ended up being more a sea of navy blue, baby blue, and baby diarrhea orange).
I was on fire that morning. All doubt had left me. My anxiety was gone. It was go time. I had a “let’s do this!” speech all prepared. And it was officially time to give it.
I looked around at my teammates who were all waiting patiently in front of me.
Noisy, bass-thumping music was blaring over loud speakers nearby.
Most of them were shifting back and forth, antsy and anxious to get underway.
Others were mildly worried looking. Others were grinning and laughing. And others were visibly terrified.
Waiting for us just past the warm-up area was that first wall. You remember that wall. It was the one that the entire team has to get over before they can even approach the starting line, and it’s part of every Tough Mudder. It’s tall, and intimidating, and has two major purposes… Scare the crap out of you, and give you the confidence you need for what you’re about to do.
I opened my mouth to start speaking. But then I remembered my quiet voice, and I thought about trying to make it somehow rise and carry above the music. And since I realized nobody there would probably hear a dang thing I said, I simply shouted, “what do you all say we just do this thing!” And that was that. No pep talk. No speech at all. Off we went.
It’s okay. It worked. A speech wasn’t necessarily needed. But this is what I had planned to say…
“All right teammates. It is time to do this thing. And the first one to the end gets a thousand bucks and the option to sneak away at mile 6 for a quick make-out session with me in the bushes.”
Oh my gosh. Come on. Give me some credit. I didn’t really plan to say that. I don’t have a thousand extra bucks just laying around. And nobody would want to make out with me at mile 6, anyway. Maybe at mile 11, when they were no longer still mentally with it, but not mile 6.
Anyway, the real speech I had planned…
“Look at us. 42 amazing people. 42 different people. 42 complexly unique people.
Look around at your teammates here today. We have extremely fit people on our team. We have people who still have a long way to go on their health journeys. We have tall people. We have short people. We have people in their twenties. We have people in their fifties. We have people with white skin. We have people with brown skin. We have straight people. We have not-so-straight people. We have rich people. We have poor people. We have people who live within an hour from here. We have people from as far away as Canada and the East coast.
Now, look around at your teammates once more. And think about something even more powerful than the amazing diversity that our team is.