Return to the Light Throughout The Night Book Blog Posts
Return to the blog posts

Light Throughout The Night Chapter 8: Competitive Spirit
Posted: 2023-02-18 At: 5:30 am:   

If you've reached this blog post via a search engine or through social media, I'm posting the complete book for free here as blog posts. A summery is located here.

Light Throughout The Night is a complete story with many twists and turns. The only way to feel the essence of the story is to read it from beginning to end.

Even though I'm posting the book as blog posts, the eBook is still available for sale. As a result, please don't post the book elsewhere.

Chapter 8: Competitive Spirit

After Glow found a hotel, after she settled in the city, she went on a tour of the arenas. A tour specifically designed for new competitors.

The tour began at the main entrance of the finals arena. Glass storefronts lined the hallways. The halls were huge, spanning almost fifty feet in width, going down as far as the eye could see. Rows of highspeed elevators moved people from floor to floor.

The tour took four whole days. During part of the tour, competitors are taught the rules and insights of the new sports. With Glow being Glow, she wanted to prepare as diligently as possible.

She blocked out any and all distractions. She didn't want to let the enormity and glamor of the new facilities to prevent her from learning the sports.

Safety of competitors was a priority.

Keeping competitions exciting, while prioritizing player safety wasn’t easy to accomplish.

Many rules were designed with safety as a determining factor. The minimum age required to compete is 22. There isn’t a maximum age limit. Otherwise, as long as a competitor qualifies for the lowest skill level, she can compete.

When a player competes against another of the same skill, height and weight, injury is less likely.

Levels were also specifically designed for seniors. Those levels are optional. Seniors can compete against either regular competitors or other seniors. Often, seniors best competitors half their age.

Levels, obstacle courses, and cubes were specifically designed for those with disabilities.

“Leave No Citizen Behind.”

The team sport involves tackling. Players are only permitted to tackle another from behind, eliminating the possibility of collisions, limiting injuries. Only one player is allowed to tackle another.

After a tackle, play isn’t stopped. Tackled players could attempt to stand, while defensive players try to hold them down.

During the struggle, defensive players are allowed to wrap their arms and legs around downed players. Offensive / downed players are allowed to drop the ball while struggling to their feet. Offensive players are given 30 seconds to get to their feet.

If an offensive player stands, the defensive player must give them a five foot cushion and let them regain possession of the ball. If the offensive player is ruled down after 30 seconds, play of the ball is reset 25 yards back.

To spread the action, after a catch, offensive players are only allowed to run 15 feet before having to pass the ball, keeping the ball moving, involving the most players.

Defensive players are allowed to hold onto offensive players who don’t have possession of the ball. They’re only permitted to use their hands. They can’t wrap their arms around offensive players, throw them to the ground, throw elbows, punches or any type of aggressive move. Defensive holding creates a physicality to the game, while adding to the excitement. Keeping the proximity of players close, also lessens the likelihood of injury.

Players rarely break the rules. Penalties usually result in a point for the other team. Given the similar levels of talent, scores are often very close. Having a point deducted is significant.

Equality of talent is very important to the sports success. When players and teams compete against other players and teams of equal and opposing talent, games and competitions are exciting, grueling and most important, competitive.

Equality of talent is also the best way to give the most people an opportunity to compete. In contrast, lower level competitors don’t always perform with glamor and elegance.

In the grand scheme of things, a competitors elegance within competitions is irrelevant. Competitors are getting the opportunity to do something exciting, something they enjoy. That’s what life’s about.

Friends and family enjoy watching their loved ones compete, regardless of their talent or technical knowhow. They enjoy cheering for someone they care about.

Ensuring players are evenly matched is a tough task. Many unorthodox measures are taken.

Tryouts are tough, diverse, and take place over multiple days, making it difficult for players to hide their abilities. Players aren’t given a good reason to hide their abilities. All players, regardless of their talent level or number of wins are paid an equal pay rate.

Players who dominate their rankings for a specific period of time are moved to the next highest level. If a player doesn’t make their weight class, they’re moved to the next highest or lowest weight class.

A couple days after the tour, Glow was scheduled for tryouts. When Glow arrived, she was motivated for her first day of tryouts.

The locker rooms are located below the stadium, deep underground. Glow exited the elevator into the halls leading to the locker rooms. The locker room halls are long, darker and much thinner than the main hallways. The walk felt eerie, not creepy or scary, just eerie. Almost as if the halls had presence.

At the entrance to the locker room, Glow slowly pushed the door open. The locker room was bright. Rows of lockers went down as far as she could see. Hundreds of ladies sat in front of their lockers. Many chatting and joking. Others gossiping. Some were talking about how it felt seeing themselves on television, their stats, the city and different things they did in their spare time.

Having spent the majority of her life in seclusion, with the last four and a half years almost completely alone, Glow felt unraveled, suddenly surrounded by all these different ladies.

She took a few seconds to regain her composure. She waited for her eyes to adjust to the bright lights. After taking a deep breath, telling herself, “Glow, you can do this!”, she began looking for the best available locker, maneuvering her way through the aisles.

When Glow found a locker, she took a seat. The lady next to her struck up a conversation. She was a red headed chick, almost the same height as Glow, with a bubbly personality, a deep southern accent and a warming smile.

Glow instantly felt a sense of ease. The conversation was lighthearted and real. Both traveled very far and were in a very different environment than either of them ever experienced. The two clicked, quickly becoming friends, exchanging numbers before leaving the locker room.

When Glow’s group of competitors arrived at the practice cubes, they were asked to hand in a 10 page questionnaire. The questionnaire was given to them during the tour, hundreds of questions were asked.

Some of the questions asked about their daily habits, what they did for a living, and the types of exercises they do regularly. The questions were designed to match players with opponents of the same skill set.

After the ladies submitted their questionnaire, they started the Preliminaries and Skill Classification. During the Preliminaries and Skill Classification, competitors are put through a variety of physical and skill challenges, designed to determine the class and level at which competitors compete.

Class is based on weight and height. Competitors with a similar weight and height are placed in the same class. From there, classes are divided into levels. The level for which a competitor competes is based on their strength, speed, flexibility, skill, and stamina.

The first day, potential competitors are put through a number of physical challenges. The strength and speed of their punches and kicks are measured against digital punching bags.

Next, they do exercises designed to measure overall strength. Competitors do as many pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups, curls and bench presses as possible.

The second day, competitors are run through multiple obstacle courses without the cube’s. Obstacle course results show a competitors agility and stamina. The results of the strength tests and obstacle courses determine the level of the obstacle course with the cubes included, competitors compete in the during the final day of tryouts, and when competing live in the above ground arenas.

During the first two days of tryouts, Glow received decent scores. As a result, she was assigned to compete in a class with a higher difficulty level.

The following day, the last day of tryouts, is the longest and toughest. Competitors begin the day by competing as individuals, inside cubes, against other individual competitors.

The second half of the day, competitors are put through a smaller, similar version of the Obstacle Cube Course featured in the above ground arenas. Then, to push competitors even further, after the Obstacle Cube Course, competitors are required to run sprints.

Glow didn’t begin with an easy cube. Her first competition was in a cube designed to determine strength, stamina and overall determination.

Inside the cube, two exercise chairs face each other, each with a two foot space in front and to the side. The exercise chairs look like abdominal exercise chairs found in most gyms. The ones where a person sits in the chair, sets the weight limit, wraps their arms around a padded bar and pushes down with their abs to lift the weights.

The only difference, when a competitor pushes down, they’re not pushing down against weights. They’re pushing down against the competitor sitting in the opposite chair. If one competitors bar is moving forward and down, the others bar and chair backing moves backwards and down.

Abdominal muscles are among the strongest and most durable muscles in the human body. Having to overpower another of the same weight and height, with just the abs, usually results in very grueling competitions.

The winner is the first lady who pushes the bar all the way down twenty-five times or pushes it down the most times before the fifteen minute time limit expires.

While waiting to enter the cube, Glow heard her opponent chatting with another competitor. The lady she’s about to compete against has been working as a waitress for the past fifteen years.

She’s in her mid-30’s. She’s almost the same height as Glow, possibly a couple millimeters taller and slightly thinner. Glow knew waitresses are on their feet all day and often have to be very tough to last in their career.

A few minutes later, the two ladies were asked to enter the cube. Glow took a seat in an exercise chair, looking across at her opponent, waiting for the start of the competition. The waitress didn’t acknowledge Glow in any way, shape or form.

Glow’s determined, yet, nervous. The grandness of the competitions, her new surroundings and all the publicity was taking a toll. The arena was packed. Even the smaller underground arena for qualifying competitions, draw large crowds of other competitors.

Glow took a look into the stands, all the people jumbled her thoughts.

She hasn’t been tested against others. She was having insecurities about her abilities. The fact her opponent was older, possibly more experienced and previously working for many years in a very tough career was also intimidating.

Glow felt her muscles weaken. She knew she had to focus.

The ref yells, “On your mark!”

Glow quickly turned towards the padded bar, wrapped her arms around the padding, squeezing tight.

“Get Set!”

“Go!” The buzzer sounds!

Glow immediately pushed down with all her strength. Her bar didn’t move. A few minutes passed. Nothing! Her bar still didn’t move.

She didn’t want to look across at her opponent. She was afraid looking at her opponent might cause her to let up, even if just for a split second.

Glow kept pushing down with all her strength. Five more minutes passed. They felt like hours. Her bar wasn’t budging, yet, her abs were burning.

She was starting to feel disappointed with herself. Almost as if she’s been defeated before the competition finished.

Without letting up, Glow took a quick peak at her opponent. The waitress's muscles were tense, solid. Her face looked angry, intense, intimidating.

Glow’s fear of losing motivated her to dig deep within, ignoring the pain. She let out a gasp, letting loose with a downward burst of energy. Glow’s bar started to budge, moving ever so slightly forward and down.

She kept up the pressure. Slowly, surely, Glow was moving her bar forward and down. At the same time, the bursts of energy were taking a lot out of her.

She was tiring, losing her breath. Glow wasn’t about to let herself give in to exhaustion, give in to the pain she was feeling in her abs.

She let loose with one last burst of energy. Seconds later, Ding! The buzzer sounds. Glow scored a point!

At the sound of the buzzer, she squeezed the padded bar with all her might, letting out a low sigh, feeling both exhausted and ecstatic.

The chairs of the two ladies reset to the upward position. Glows strength was drained. Her abs were in serious pain. Glow didn’t dare take a look at her opponent. She didn’t have to look. She could sense the waitresses displeasure.

A few seconds later the buzzer sounds, singling the start of the next set.

Glow pushed down with all her might. Her might was much less. Exhaustion set in. She felt weaker. She knew her opponent has an opportunity to score a point. She wasn’t letting up. Nevertheless, she felt her chair and bar slowly moving backwards.

Glow tightened her grip, pushing with all her strength. Now with little effect. She glanced up at the clock. Less than a minute remained.

If Glow could hold on for just one more minute, she would get the win. With her abs burning, severely weakened, she kept as much pressure against the bar as possible.

The ref yells, “30 seconds remaining!” Her opponent still had a quarter of the way to go. Glow didn’t know if she could fend the waitress off for another 30 seconds.

The ref yells, “fifteen seconds!”

The waitress let loose with a loud grunt, her bar jolted forward! Glows jolted backwards! The waitress is now just inches away from the tying point.

Glow’s depleted stomach muscles are quickly submitting to the pressure.

2 seconds. 1 second. The buzzer sounds!

The waitress lets out a loud scream. An angry scream, violently pounding her arms against the padded bar! She wasn’t happy.

Glow got the victory. Though, just barely.

Glow was physically exhausted. At the same time, she was riding an adrenalin high. She was ecstatic with herself.

She thought about Beckie and how happy she would have been if she was here. She thought about her mom and how proud she would have been to see her daughter competing. Emotions overwhelmed her. Glow’s insides trembled with joy.

Her sense of joy only lasted a few seconds. Shortly thereafter, the two ladies were asked to exit the cube. As Glow exited, the waitress was doing the same. She was equally and as visibly upset with the loss as Glow was happy with the win.

The two ladies crossed paths. That’s when the waitress took the opportunity to show her displeasure, slamming her shoulder into Glow’s, catching her off guard, sending Glow stumbling backwards, twisting sideways. The sting of the blow caused Glow to grimace, grab her shoulder in pain. The waitress kept walking out of the cube.

An attendee immediately stepped in front of Glow before she had a chance to respond.

It’s only the first day of tryouts and Glow already has a rival.

Despite the scuffle, Glow stayed focused on the competitions. She didn’t let the waitress’s bitter attitude get to her. Her shoulder was a little sore, though, ok. Essentially, she got the victory and was looking forward to the next cube.

After the abdominal competition, Glow competed against a few other individual opponents. She held her own. From there, she was looking forward to competing in the obstacle course with the cubes included.

Even though the previous challenges took a lot of energy, other than feeling a little worn out, Glow felt decent. A half hour later, Glow’s group of competitors were walked to the beginning of the Obstacle Cube Course.

Glow now stands at the beginning of the Obstacle Cube Course, anxious to get off to a good start. Seconds later the buzzer sounds, Glow bolts from the starting line, instilling a tremendous amount of effort navigating through the obstacles as fast as possible.

Within the obstacle course she competed in and completed a number of different cubes, many of which were designed to determine a competitors endurance.

By the time Glow finished the first few cubes, she was dripping in sweat. The sweat was dripping into her eyes, at times causing her to see blurry. Those conditions made the next cube much more difficult.

The next cube held the Baseball pitching machines. Typically, batting is one of Glow’s strengths. She spent many hours practicing inside batting cages during the days she played Softball. Today, the balls from those very same pitching machines were much tougher to hit.

Glow’s arms were weak from previous challenges. Sweat was preventing her from seeing clearly. Glow swung within herself, focusing only on making contact, without trying to swing with much strength. She missed very few pitches, while hitting a variety of different pitch types. Glow didn’t score many power hitting points, however, her overall score was decent.

When Glow finished the Baseball cube, she navigated to the Dodgeball cube. The Dodgeball cube was on the other side of the arena. Getting there wasn’t an easy task. The obstacle course between the two cubes was almost a mile in length, circling around the outside of all the cubes.

Glow maneuvered through and over a series of obstacles, then climbed a 50 foot high net to reach the cube.

By the time Glow entered the Dodgeball cube, she was exhausted. The distance she ran was substantial. She was battered. The obstacles were tough. Her body bounced off of and against many of them. Her leg muscles were hurting. They were weak. Very weak.

Glow needed to dodge twenty balls. Then, catch five. They weren’t lobs either. Even though the balls were soft, they were flung out of multiple machines at speeds of 50 to 60 mph.

Balls started firing at Glow seconds after she entered the cube, from different angles, from multiple machines. Her legs couldn’t move her body fast enough.

The first few balls shot at her in rapid succession, hitting her in the legs, mid-section and shoulder. When the balls hit, they stung, causing an inner panic, worry. She didn’t know how to avoid them.

Glow gathered herself. Still weak, she took a different approach. If her legs couldn’t move her out of the way fast enough, she dropped to the ground, avoiding the ball, as it flew over her head.

If she couldn’t get up before the next ball was fired, she twisted her body out of the way. Glow did whatever was necessary to avoid getting hit.

The cube was tougher than she imagined. Avoiding all twenty balls took longer than she would have liked. Eventually, with unwavering determination, she avoided all twenty balls.

Now, Glow needed to catch five of them. Still recuperating, she wasn’t quick enough to position her body in front of the balls. Her hands weren’t fast enough to catch them.

The few balls she did get in front of, bounced off of her body. One went through her hands, hitting her on the chin. Another hit her on the shoulder. She couldn’t secure either of them.

Another was fired high in the air. Glow jumped, reaching for the ball. She couldn’t grip the ball. It dropped out of her grasp.

After cursing to herself, cursing at herself, trying to motivate herself, she began finding ways to catch the balls.

She waited for balls shot lower to the ground. She dove, dropping her body in front of the ball, tightly wrapping her arms around the ball just as it reached her body, securing the catch.

By the time Glow finished, she was in pain and bruised. Yet, somehow, someway, the pain and difficulty of the previous cube helped motivate her.

Glow navigated to the next cube. The spin cycle cube. The final cube. The cube most competitors consider the toughest cube in the competition.

The spin cycle cube is also the longest. Competitors are required to pedal for a half hour, with the resistance of the pedals increasing and decreasing.

The score of the cube is based on the distance a competitor pedals during the allocated time.

Knowing she was competing in the last cube, Glow gave the spin cycle cube every ounce of energy within her body. Even with her absolute best effort, the cube was every bit as tough as its reputation.

At times the resistance slowed her to just a few miles per hour. When the resistance was at its toughest, Glow stood on the pedals, pushing down with all her weight and strength. Her thighs burned. Penetrating pain ached every leg muscle in her body.

Thirty minutes later, the time limit expired. Glow was panting, deprived of oxygen. Deep, heavy breaths caused excruciating pressure and pain in her lungs.

Glow got off the exercise bike. She was dizzy. Her legs were wobbly. She took a step towards the exit of the cube. Her legs started to give, almost collapsing. She grabbed the handlebar on the exercise bike to hold herself up, waiting as long as possible before she was told to exit the cube.

Even with her adrenalin high, the spin cycle cube took its toll. Exhaustion significantly drained her energy.

Despite her exhaustion, Glow finished the cube with a decent score. Overall, she finished the Obstacle Cube Course with a score in the top 20 percent.

With the completion of the Obstacle Cube Course, only one other competition remained. Sprints.

Competitors were given a half hour break to rehydrate. After the break, competitors were walked to an adjacent field. Glow’s group was required to run eight sets of sprints. The hundred yard dash four times and the fifty yard dash four times.

First up, the hundred yard dash. Glow walked slowly to the starting line, trying to give her body a few extra minutes to recuperate. Hundreds of ladies lined up at the starting line, spread out along the field. When Glow arrived, she gingerly positioned herself into the starting position.

Seconds later, the instructor yells, “Ladies, let’s see what you got!” The buzzer sounds!

Glow takes off, trying to drive her legs forward and backward as fast as possible. They’re heavy. They’re tight. They feel like they could cramp at any second. Glow quickly fell to the middle of the pack.

She practiced these very same sprints every day while living in the field. Though, never after going through as grueling of a day both physically and mentally as she’s just been through.

Glow needed every ounce of energy in her body to finish the first hundred yard dash near the front of the pack.

After the first hundred yard dash, it didn’t matter how hard she pushed herself. She was gasping for every breath. The strength in her legs was gone. The aching pain was brutal, even for Glow. Her movement slowed. Her strides shortened.

She was only able to finish towards the middle of the pack for the remaining sets of sprints.

Regardless, she was impressive during tryouts. Throughout most of the tryouts, her movement was swift, deliberate and definitive. Her focus was good, and the trainers seemed impressed.

As for the sprints, even though she wanted to do better, she could have done worse. Plenty of ladies walked the whole length of all eight sprints just to finish.

Even then, a few still struggled. Their legs cramped. Some of the ladies had to sit and rehydrate before finishing. Others couldn’t finish the sprints at all.

Immediately after tryouts, competitors were put through a lie detector test. A series of basic questions were asked to establish truth vs lies. Then, they were asked one simple question, “Did you do your best during tryouts?”

Before Glow was asked if she did her best, the lady giving the test looked up at Glow, saying, “I don’t need to ask you this question. I saw the effort you gave out there. I have to ask the question. It’s policy.

Did you do your best during tryouts?”

Glow’s answer was obviously, “Yes.”

The next day Glow took a class designed to prepare competitors mentally for the live competitions in the main arenas.

Competing during tryouts was much different than competing in front of a live audience in the hundreds of thousands, and a nationwide television audience in the high millions.

From there, each lady was given the opportunity to create a 10 to 15 second entrance song. If a competitor qualifies for the Final Battle, their song blasts over the loudspeakers as they enter the cube.

The idea of the entrance song is to show a competitors passion and personality, while motivating the crowd and competitor.

Most competitors are competing on a stage of this magnitude for the first time. Hearing the audience cheer in their favor is important.

For the most part, rules are lenient toward the songs. They’re simple. Songs can’t display blatant derogatory lyrics or insight violence outside the cube.

Professional DJ’s are available to help each lady create an entrance song. The sports purchased the rights to use thousands of different songs. Those songs are also available for competitors to use as entrance songs.

If a competitor didn’t create an entrance song or choose a prewritten song, standard songs are played when they enter the cube.

Glow listened to some songs other ladies created. Many were very creative. Some picked heavy metal songs designed to get their adrenalin going and motivate the crowd. Other’s wrote songs intended to intimidate their opponent.

Glow wanted her entrance song to resemble the songs played by the G.L.O.W. Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling wrestlers before they entered the ring. She spent the previous two weeks thinking about, and writing her entrance song.

I’m Glow and I’ve come to fight.
When I enter the cube, you won’t be amused.
I have a deep desire.
I won’t tire.
Let the battle begin.
Cause I’m here to win.

After tryouts, Glow decided to stay and compete. She chose the MMA style battle as her Final Battle.

The following two weeks Glow took a MMA training course offered at the facilities, while spending much of her free time studying the sport.

Keywords:  Light Throughout The Night, Chapter 8 Competitive Spirit, Glow, Competitions, New Sport, Obstacle Cube Course, Plexiglass Cubes, Fiction Book, Blog Post, Arena's, Tryouts, Vs, Versus, Unwavering Determination, Endurance, Scuffle, Stamina, LTTN
Category:  Light Throughout The Night Book


Popular Blog Posts: