Sport teaches so many lessons that can be used in everyday life – it’s understanding those lessons and applying them to your daily life that is the difficult part.
A few years back I co-wrote a book called “Between The Sheets”. It’s about the mental side of the game. In the foreword of the book, I used a quote I loved from Theodore Roosevelt.
“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, 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 and comes short again and again; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring.”
Then I just liked the quote, now at 43 I finally understand the quote.
Up until we won the Olympic Trials in Edmonton I had won four Provincial titles, lost a Canadian Final in one Scottie and we didn’t have the ultimate run in the other three. We’ve been in the top 10 on the WCT (World Curling Tour Money list) almost every season since it began, but never #1. We’ve even been told in the media (more than I liked to read) that Team Bernard may be the best team in the curling world to have never won a major – always the bridesmaid, never the bride. But we still pursued the Olympics…and believed.
So now I understand Roosevelt’s quote. Following your dreams is a noble pursuit, but passively waiting for them to happen is like hanging your hitch onto the Lottery wagon where your chances are about a billion to one at best. We were actually in the arena all those years and yes, we came up short at times – but we did show unbelievable enthusiasm and amazing dedication and devotion to a sport we love. And because of that perseverance we felt the triumph of high achievement. And whether or not you achieve “ultimate success” like an Olympic medal or that breakthrough deal, don’t forget the life lessons along the way which are greater than whatever accomplishment you are seeking. Success is not the medal – the journey is.
A researcher once told me of a survey of a few hundred seniors who were all over 80 years old. If they could teach us any life lesson as they looked back over their lives what would be the main lesson they could leave with the younger generations. The top answer that stood out among all the answers given was:
Almost without fail they all said we’d take more risks and pursue more of our dreams. We’d persevere more.
It’s like Henry David Thoreau once said….”the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in their heart…”
I never wanted to head to the grave with regrets – without doing everything possible to pursue my dreams.
Even if the Olympics had not become a reality – the journey along the way would have been incredible and left me with few regrets in life.
And isn’t that what life is all about?