When Preparation meets Opportunity


There is an old saying about when preparation meets opportunity. I have always found this to be true. When I first came out of high school as an All American and into the University of Washington, I found out quickly that I was in way over my head. I hadn't prepared to be competing against 20 and 21 year old guys who were well developed in their mind, body and soul.

My mentality was I would just figure it out once I got there. Boy, was I in for a surprise. My spring quarter of my freshman year, I finally woke up and realized if I wanted to compete at the highest level with the best competitors, I would need to completely immerse myself into the program to get stronger, be more mentally strong and grasp a better understanding of the complexities of college defenses.

I spent two years on the scout team which sucks because you get beat up by the first and second team players during practice running the other teams plays whom you are about to play. This is where I grew up. I followed our coaches pyramid of success building blocks to become the best I could be. I finally got my start my junior year and we opened up against Michigan. The game had many twist and turns and we were behind by 14 points going into the 4th quarter. We mounted a comeback and with 27 seconds left to go, I caught the winning touchdown over a Michigan defender in the back of the end zone to help win the game.


I had prepared for years for that moment and when the opportunity presented itself, I made the most of it. No way would I have made that catch as a freshman. Same is true in the mountains. I have been on expeditions where fellow climbers haven't made the necessary sacrifices to train properly and when the going gets tough, they can't make it. Therefore, train hard, know your opponent and make sure you put yourself in the best possible position to win.
Mark Pattison

Comments (1)
No. 1-1

Very interesting story. As an alumni of the University of Washington and a former college athlete there, the culture shock of entering college athletics does take time for your mentality and physicality to adjust. Love how you are able to connect the two between playing college football and climbing now.