Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You Gotta Want It

I know that sounds like the title of Jack Nicholson’s next romantic comedy but it’s not. Or, at least, not yet. I’m sure he’ll get around to it. You may ask, How Do You Know? Well, it’s a colloquial phrase so…Something’s Gotta Give.

Actually, the phrase “you gotta want it” is providing much comedic relief these days around the Nitmos home. If I were into rhetorical questions, I’d probably insert a “what’s the big deal with this phrase?” right about here. Fortunately, I’m not so I’ll just tell you straight out.

My colt plays premier league soccer here in wet, rainy, population-dwindling Michigan. If you thought parents could be intense at regular youth league sporting events, wait until you start throwing around hundreds* of dollars, driving half-way across the state at 5 AM for a tournament every other weekend, and watching teenage boys learn the subtle art of referee-evading elbow jabs to the neck and mid back. Mrs. Nitmos and I normally just stand and chat with some of the more, ahem, 'relaxed' team parents, applauding where needed but, generally, staying out of the hub-bub.

There is a group of more aggressive parents attached to our team, like most teams, and they let their presence be felt with a series of catcalls to the ref (usually by completely misunderstanding the offsides rule), loud mid-game critiquing of their (or not their!) son’s performance, and an intensity that would scare the smart into Snooki. We like to keep at least a ten yard gap between that group and our group. Guilt by association, you know?! They are just a bi-colored face paint job, no shirt, and a flammable object away from being your prototypical soccer hooligan. Our normal operating procedure is to greet this group with a friendly ‘Hello’, casually check their hands for broken bottles and/or gas soaked rags, scan for the nearest exit in case of riot and then march off ten yards to our Zone of Serenity. Serenity now.

Out of that group, there is usually one voice that rises above. Now, the kids at this level don’t need to be encouraged to play hard anymore. In fact, if you don’t play hard, you just get run over. But that doesn’t stop one team parent from continually shouting “You gotta want it!” every three minutes like clockwork while the kids run around with sweat-drenched faces. “You gotta want it!” Three minutes. “You gotta want it!” Three minutes.

He’s truly become a master at You Gotta Want It. Using only those 4 four (ish) words, he’s able to convey encouragement, hope, anger, disappointment, and condemnation just by slightly changing the tone, emphasis and inflexion of the words. It always starts with an encouraging “You gotta want it!” If a few of our players lose some one vs. one battles, it turns to an angry “You GOTTA want it!” Finally, if the boys fall behind late in the game, you can feel the disgust rising from his belly as he throws his arms up and wails “You gotta WANT it!”

It’s as annoying as it is humorous. Don’t think I don’t take every opportunity to drive Mrs. Nitmos and the kids nuts with it either. If my colt loses, I’ll innocently ask him, “What happened? Didn’t you want it?”

When Mrs. Nitmos had trouble with a cake due to our constantly malfunctioning stove, I wandered into the kitchen, looked at the sunken baked good and stated, “Well, you gotta want it.”

Approaching a yellow light signal, the car in front of me chooses to slow to a stop rather than punch it and make it through. Of course, I flip them off and yell, “You gotta want it…asshole!” (Sometimes you need that extra word.)

Even the minutest thing can be an opportunity to use it. My filly can’t get the remote for the TV to work? “C’mon….you GOTTA WANT IT!”

In fact, the phrase has risen to a level where it’s now one of our much used family acronyms, like F.U., M-F’er, or PTF**:

You Gotta Want It = YGWI or "yig-wee".

Now, You Gotta Want It guy shouts his catch phrase during a match and Mrs. Nitmos and I can look at each other, nod, and say “Yig-wee….definitely a yig-wee moment” without starting an intra-fan bleacher brawl.

The phrase has even crept its way into my running. After a few loooong months of winter maintenance running, I’ve just started to get back into regular speed work. After a prolonged break, those first few track sessions can be grueling. Yesterday, I found myself puffing around the track on the last lap of my last 800 and fighting the temptation to slow when *pop* into my head came You Gotta Want It. I DID want it. Yig-wee, M-F'ers, yig-wee. Everyone needs a mantra. Maybe mine is yig-wee. Suddenly, I had an epiphany. Maybe Yig-Wee Man is right after all. You DO gotta want it. And it IS nice to be reminded every three minutes….that’s less than once every interval after all.

I finished my 800’s and took an easy pace for my mile plus cool down run home satisfied that I must have made Yig-Wee Man proud somewhere. Clearly, he's onto something here. Maybe I'll join his group for the next game and make his solo act a duet.

You gotta want it? Yes, you do. I hope you Yig-Wee your runs as well. That phrase is As Good As It Gets.

Happy Yig-Wee.

**Pass The Fudge stripes


Laura said...

Yig-wee is hilarious. I will make sure to yell it every few minutes when I'm pacing this weekend.

GeorgiaSnail said...

"Yig-we" will become more popular than W.W.C.S.D.? (hint - drink more tiger's blood)

Sun Runner said...

Clearly, one has flown over the cuckoo's nest in the Nitmos household.

Jess said...

That is hysterical--the annoying soccer parent became your interval running mantra.

Vava said...

Oh, the joy of guilt by association. Before one of the parents of a boy on my son's basketball team got kicked out for his "helpful encouragement" to both the coach and the players I was treated to a number of gems. My favorite? "That's kindergarden stuff!" He would yell this to his son whenever the coach would require the team to do drills that were deemed too rudimentary for his liking.

Dribble with you left hand? "That's kindergarden stuff! Through the legs! Through the legs!!!"

Layups? "That's kindergarden stuff! Around the back! Around the back!!!"

Suicide drills? "That's kindergarden stuff!" He had no alternative for his son that was more difficult...

Anyway, good times. Too bad it was cut short at our first tournament when he was politely asked by the coach to leave. And so I was deprived of more mantra material.

The Sean said...

Nice. Really AGAIG.

I sense a Yig-we approaching at some random moment when it will be the exact WRONG time to burst into laughter...

may I suggest a tape recorder (do they still make those) for the next soccer game- you can add Yig-we to your playlist... you know, for inspiration.

Danielle in Iowa in Seattle said...

I always want it, but it is too bad I don't want it enough to actually train well.

Elizabeth said...

so so funny. I now have my mantra for my marathon, and depending on what mile I am on during the marathon will determine where the emphasis will fall. Start line: I gotta WANT it. YEAH! I WANT it!! Half-way: I GOTTA want it. Right? I GOTTA! Mile 22: I gotta want IT. OMG I want IT. (replace IT with margarita or bed to fall into or gunshot to the head).

Ironman By Thirty said...

"usually by completely misunderstanding the offsides rule" TOTALLY relate to this. My brother-in-law plays soccer and I heard one of the mom's yelling at the ref about offsides and then leaned over to her friend and said, "I really just don't understand the whole offsides thing". Ummm... then shut your pie whole woman!

Richard said...

Another great post. I was worried I was going to get through it without seeing the F-bomb. I was wrong.

Irene said...

My sister was a cheerleader. Now I have the cheer-leading chant in my head: "You've got to want it, to win it, and we want it more." Now it's stuck in my head. Thanks. (insert sarcasm)

Yet another great post. You (once again) made me think. Ouch.

Drea said...

BOOM! Yig-Wee! Genius! Spank!

Spike said...

That fandad is my favorite. Odds are he is a former professional soccer player, or at the very least he played jv skee ball at the local arcade. And it is this experience that allows him to yig-wee with impunity. After all, he wanted it and got it.

Reluctant Runner said...

Yes, very good running mantra. I really like the idea of moving the emPHASis to different syllABles. You could also run the words together in different ways:

"Yagada wann it."

"You gotta waannit."

Or just making it one word:


I have officially thought about this for too long.