Thursday, March 4, 2010

Going for the Gold!

On the heels of the Vancouver Winter Games! Olympic competition has always been a favorite of mine and the family and I enjoyed this last go around a lot. I'm certainly impressed by the discipline and hard work it takes - for many years - to prepare to compete at such a high level. The brutal reality is that only a small percentage of those athletes get the opportunity to don the title - Olympic Champion. To see their country's colors raised and their national athem played for the world to hear. For me that whole scene is very moving but I have professed before that I am a dork.
In many cases, earning a gold medal brings with it celebrity, opportunities, and often times fortune. Again very well deserved as the training regimen and disciplined lifestyle must be very intense. And the difference between standing on the medal podium and packing your gear to try again in 4 years or never is often fractions of a second or one slight error.
I'll never have the opportunity to stand on the Olympic podium, have some smooth old dude place a metal around my neck, and shed tears of joy while the national athem is played. But I can commit to doing something everyday that allows me to "go for the gold" in my own life.
I don't have tens of thousands of people clinging to my every word on Twitter or anxiously waiting for the next great thing I'm going to do. And no one plays music or stands up and cheers when I go to work everyday. But I tell myself and what motivates me is the opportunity that I have everyday to be a champion in my own space. When I do something that makes my wife smile or laugh or makes her say that she is proud of me - I'm a champion. When I fix something around the house - and I am So not that guy who easily fixes things - that has been a nuisance to everyone - I'm a champion. When I help one of our kids through a tough situation or a tough assignment - I'm a champion. When I stand up for my kids when someone has not treated them fairly - I'm a champion. When I stand out at work and go the extra mile - I'm a champion. When I help a friend through a tough spot - I'm a champion.
Again I don't expect that there will be a formal medal ceremony and Charlie's anthem hasn't even been written yet but each day I do a little bit more so that when this gig is done, I'll have earned a gold medal for the events I compete in: Husband, Father, Teammate, Friend.


  1. I love the Winter Games. They're kind of the Freaks and Geeks of the sports world. Occasionally someone like Apolo Ohno catches our attention, but mostly they're flashes in the pan, minor celebrities for two weeks, and then they disappear. Eric Heiden, for instance. Won five golds in one week — amazing! Then went on to take the US Road Cycling National Championship and road the Tour de France — how many folks can go win the top awards in two different sports? Then he went on to medical school and is a successful orthopedic surgeon. And yet, he can still go to the grocery store or walk around the mall without getting swarmed by mobs of fans.

    What really got to me this type around is watching how hard these guys train. That 24 Hour Fitness ad with CJ Celski (who's dad is USMA '78, by the way) showed him doing some balance and strength training that I could never do. Even for an obscure sport with limited professional potential, these guys train hard. Not talking about 30 minutes on the treadmill at a leisurely pace, like I do, but full out efforts that leave you hurting.

    I'll never be an Olympic athlete, but it made me take notice at how many things I take on with a "just enough to get by" attitude. Did I really give that particular task my 100%? Did I walk away exhausted, not from exasperation but from putting all I could into my effort? Inspiring stuff, for sure, and not because I want to step onto the podium some day, but because I just want to know that I gave it my all.

  2. Steve, right on Man! Thanks for leaving your thoughts. Right on point!