“The Freeze” was started at a gimmick in Atlanta between innings at a Braves ballgame, but he became so popular that he makes regular appearances at games today.
This is how it works: A fan is picked from the crowd to race from the left field foul line, across the warning track (the strip of dirt along the wall in the outfield), to the right field foul line. The catch is that the fan is given a huge head start and it’s the job of The Freeze to catch and pass that fan, and finish the race first.
He is very fast, and let’s just say that it doesn’t end well for most contestants.
In fact, there was a race on Monday that caught my attention. This one looked different, until it didn’t. Just watch and see what happened:
What most people don’t realize is that the length of the arc along the warning track is really long. The contestant will usually go hard to build a big lead, but as they near the finish line, they run out of gas. The Freeze has run this race many times, so he knows how to pace himself out so he can finish strong. If anyone has ever run a 400 meter race in track and field, they will know how miserably hard the final stretch actually is.
This got me to thinking about parallels between these naive running fans and being an entrepreneur, especially when doing it for the first time. We are full of energy and are highly motivated. We go all in, late into the night, writing code and building our product. Then we don’t see the results we hope for and quickly begin to realize that there’s still a lot more of the “race” to go, and we run out of energy and crash.
I could imagine that this is the point where many decide to give up. They gave it a try and realized that it was much harder than they had anticipated. (So much credit to the guy in the video because he still picked himself up, despite his miserable fail in front of thousands of people, and with the internet, millions!)
We have been pushing hard to get the first version of our product built and launched, but we also realize that this is just the beginning. Building a startup into a sustainable business is a journey that will take years to accomplish. We are excited about what is possible, but also very aware that we need to be realistic about our energy, health, and overall wellbeing.
Creating a startup is about pacing, and hopefully we've picked a good pace that will bring a balance of speed and endurance, and help us keep at it for a really long time.