This one has been on my mind for a long time, and since we are all up in arms over teenage bareback riding sensation Rocker Steiner and his "passionate remarks" that have been made at the NFR this week I figured there is no better time to talk about it. I am not picking sides or saying that he is right or wrong for this behavior and honestly this isn't really about Steiner anyways...
In order to be a champion at the highest level you need to have a certain amount of love for yourself and what you do. If you don't believe in yourself and think you're pretty dang cool you might as well just load up and go home, because you're beat before you even nod your head or run down that alleyway. I'm not saying you need to go out and tell everyone that you are better than them or that you should ask the judges "what the f**k do you want from me" when you don't like the numbers on the board but nonetheless you have to have the confidence in yourself, even when no one else does or the judges don't see how you felt.
I've always struggled with the confidence thing and it is because sometimes people have taken it as cocky or disrespectful, though I tried hard to believe in myself and pump myself up. I recall one time back when I was in Jr High Rodeo I had a personal best weekend and won my first and second buckle EVER, it may have been a little Jr Rodeo but I was on cloud nine because to me it was the world. In all my excitement I had a friend tell me "you better be careful or your head will be too big to fit through the door", I sunk. That single comment took away from one of the most exciting moments in my life at the time and I felt that I was not allowed to be proud of myself or show my confidence on the outside. This is a prime example of how we need to be kind and mindful of what we say to others when they're on a high and feeling unstoppable, as long as they are not being disrespectful let them enjoy the moment and let them be passionate and excited!
I've had the pleasure to spend time around a lot of great champions in my life, including my father who is one of the most confident people I know. If you were to ask him he would tell you "it's not bragging if you back it up" which I believe wholeheartedly but you still have to be RESPECTFUL to others, whether they're a kid in the stands, a judge on the arena floor or a fellow contestant. Let's face it if you're mouthing off to the judges you're likely not going to be lighting up the board anytime soon, it's human nature and if someone makes you feel shitty you're ultimately not going to be looking for the best in them and therefore you won't be getting any "extra" points.
Everyone is different, and as I mentioned above in the end we are only human. I have been privileged enough to meet and rope with some highly decorated cowboys and to talk to them you would never know how great they are, but if you watch closely you will notice how they carry themselves through good and bad runs. They are only human but have found the ultimate balance between self-confidence and being humble and that is something that everyone should strive to be not just in the arena but in all aspects of life.
Call it what you want but in the end, you are going to have to be your own biggest fan, cocky or confident just be respectful to those around you, and don't be arrogant. Keep on keepin' on!