Honest Abe and Fighting


On April 24, 1862, Honest Abe, ugly as the day is long, said of Ulyesses S. Grant, “I can’t spare this man: he fights.” In these seven words alone including a contraction Abe earned his monicker honestly. For in times of conflict and competition, those that fight can’t be spared. You will not win consistently or meaningfully without them.

There is a moment, many moments, in a game, tournament or a season when matters are going south. Lack of preparation, unanticipated adversity, or bad luck take hold of a situation, and it is easier in that moment to give in and accept that it is not your moment, day or even time. Concentration gives way to distraction, body language turns sullen, communication in any productive form goes silent, energy fades to fatigue. It is here that fighters are defined. Their numbers may be small, but they aren’t hard to find.

They are not prone to self-pity, or self-reflection, and often appear immune to fatigue. They are a rebellious sort, that live in the moment and channel reserves of energy that can defy logic. That is because the very nature of the fighter is to defy logic, to say no, not today, not tonight, maybe not ever. The fighter is the last bulwark on the way to victory, and his final act is to pull his heart from his chest lay it down before his opponent, and with action not words say this isn’t over til that before you stops beating.

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