To dare might things
What “The man in the arena” is about:
During high school I experienced both the misery of being a quitter and the thrill of being a champion, all within the span of a year. Being a small guy of average athletic abilities, my sports options were limited. But I could run like hell, and for long distances. So I started running cross country, which in the state of Kentucky meant 5 kilometer (3.1 mile) races. I made the high school team, but through a weird and sad set of circumstances, I quit the team my sophomore year.
In the following season, I was at the mercy of my teammates, who had to vote whether or not to let me back on the team. They voted in my favor, thankfully. And in that second season we were state champs!
To be a part of that victory, for me, was as big as winning the World Series, as big as leading the final touchdown drive to win the Super Bowl, or leading my team to victory in the NBA finals. It doesn’t matter that it was just the Kentucky State Cross Country Championship. To us it was as big as the Miracle on Ice and winning gold!
I wish everyone could have a similar experience of victory. And you can! It doesn’t have to be in sports though, or even in what we normally think of as a competition.
You can feel that same sense of euphoria when you achieve your dreams, when you land that big promotion, get that book published, get into the college you’ve dreamed about. You can be that champion when you beat an addiction, achieve your weight loss goals, or finally go on that dream adventure.
We can all do it. We just have to decide to do it! Decide what, in life, we want to champion. And then do the work and maintain the determination to do it.
If you want to read my full story about being a quitter and champion on the cross country course, you can find it here: The Fifth Man. I’m convinced that my story would make a great little movie.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt