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Invest in the Best–You!

August 13, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s cold turkey time. The first day without a sports-induced moment of excitement since June. My aperitif for the Olympics was the Tour de France. Three weeks of adrenalin-pumped, yellow/white/green and polka dotted trekking through some of the most spectacular scenery in France, if not Europe. I cheered (loudly) along with the crowds from Liege to the narrow route through the Pyrenees, through quaint villages that I looked up on the internet while listening to the commentaries. Along farmlands that stretched seemingly for days, great patches of green and gold with TDF 2012 messages sculpted creatively, making humorous aerial shots. I bored Hubby shamelessly about Bradley Wiggins’ times and who earned the right to wear which jersey on any given day. And when Bradley Wiggins stood on the victory podium flanked by Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali, I was there! Okay, actually I was 3500 miles away sitting on my bed, but I cheered as if we were going to share the prize. Crazy sports fan.

But I’m not even a real sports fan, just a temporary groupie.

By the time I grabbed some sleep and blinked my eyes, Olympic Stadium was lit up for the opening ceremony. Switching between the only two stations that offered coverage in my area (how much choice did you have?), I watched mostly indiscriminately and cheered for every athlete and followed the medal count. The stadium crowds may have had the benefit of feeling the excitement and adding their voices to the roar of the crowd, but how else could one observe several events on any given day: weightlifting, swimming (even the synchronized kind), volleyball, fencing, equestrian events, cycling. I realized I don’t know enough about any sport to be able to explain it to anyone else, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying every bit of the action.

And I’m not even a real sports fan.

Now that the Olympic flag has been passed on to Rio de Janeiro, the flame has been extinguished and the stadium cleared, there is time for reflection. Undaunted by the fact that not even the Tour de France nor the Olympics could sufficiently motivate me to commit to some kind of exercise plan, I do agree with the following two quotations in the non-sporting events of my life. The first quotation gives me hope that talent isn’t the only factor of success:

Intense Desire

“It sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.” (Eric Hoffer)

If I am fiercely dedicated to that thing that I love to do, not only can opportunities appear but eventually I will become proficient, and if I dare to dream big enough, talented in that area. Sure natural talent is a great advantage, but even the talented have to practice, sacrifice, set goals and work diligently toward them. The two men who took chances and invested in the talents given to them doubled their initial investments. However, the man who received one talent, hid it and later made excuses for not using the opportunity given to him. This example is found in the Bible (Matthew 25:14-29), and the point is relevant even today. So you think you don’t have enough talent? Apply some intense desire and watch it grow.

Risk

Many people do not like to take risk because they may not succeed and defeat hurts, whether physically or emotionally. The trouble is this:

“If you don’t invest very much, then defeat doesn’t hurt very much and winning is not very exciting.” (Dick Vermeil)

Have you ever challenged an opponent you knew you could beat? A safe, easy victory is not very satisfying. However, full investment does not guarantee victory or the gold medal, but through the tears of victory or defeat, these words will be true: “I did my best. I gave it my all.” Whenever I experienced a failed attempt and my mother found me crying (which was often), she would ask the same question: Did you do your best? Through sniffles or heaving sobs (whichever the occasion required), if I answered yes, she would tell me I had nothing to be ashamed of and order me to hold my head up.

Not every athlete went home with a medal after the closing ceremony on Sunday after years of spending long hours at the track, pool or gym. They all invested much.

Good bye, Wenlock.

Hello, Mandeville!