It is interesting to watch all the gold medal winners in the Olympics. Some parade around, holding the medals high. Others strut and beat their chests. Some thank mom and dad for their sacrifices. Some are thankful for representing the USA. Most end up cashing in, on a cereal box, selling shampoo, medicinal products, and appearing on the Today Show, David Letterman etc.
Others are more humble, recognizing in quiet the significance of being the best in the world, what it took, the 5 a.m. swims, the aching body, the fatigue, and the over-coming of self-doubt.
But what about those who make it but come in seventh, or don’t qualify through the quarter-final heat? What is their significance? No one seems to want to talk to them, interview them or even associate with the “losers.”
Having tried out for professional soccer myself (and coming close) my response is: you are stronger and better having taken on a difficult task and dedicating yourself to becoming the best at it, with single-minded purpose, even falling short in the world’s eyes.
Because, in the end, when you are in a nursing home, you will want to end this life having no regrets about what you could have become, the potential you could have realized—had you only tried.
And they did something, while we simply watched, for which we are the “losers” for passing judgement on that which we would never attempt.
They have to answer only to themselves.