Remember when athletes were heroes? I clearly remember when I was a kid cheering for the New York Giants and feeling terrible when the other team knocked out Y.A. Tittle on a frozen gridiron; and listening to those epic battles between Bill Russell (he was and still is my favorite) and Wilt Chamberlain on the radio; and staying up late to hear the boxing match when Cassius Clay knocked out Floyd Patterson. I remember Sandy Koufax, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Jackie Robinson – baseball players who were large in life and cherished on baseball cards? And what about those American hockey players who won the gold medal at the 1980 Olympics – we shared the thrill of victory outrunning the agony of defeat. Those were the kinds of heroes that we looked up to: they won and lost… honestly, and proudly.
So this week’s news about Lance Armstrong being stripped of all his Tour de France victories was terribly disappointing. It’s sad when athletes who have so much going for them turn out to be more interested in winning at all costs than competing fairly. What happened to “it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game”? Remember Bruce Jenner and Marylou Retton: they were proud to win, and proud to have their pictures on a box of Wheaties. They inspired us to do and be more.
I guess we have to look beyond the bizarre behavior of the greedy and take note of those who work hard, care a lot, compete fairly and accept what happens with grace. You’ll find them everywhere: at work and play, in the groups of people you hang with, and in the neighborhoods where you live. They are, or should be, our role models, and while they may be athletes, more often they’re regular, soft-spoken and humble people we know and are around most of the time: friends, parents, siblings, neighbors, and good Samaritans in the news. Look around today and note all the good people who influence you by their beliefs and behaviors. And then strive to be like them… because they’re the real heroes.
My message this week is about being proud of who and what you are:
"The key to a happy life is to have accomplishments to be proud of and purpose to look forward to.”
Jeff Lindsay is the pen name of American playwright and crime novelist Jeffry P. Freundlich (born July 14, 1952), best known for his novels about sociopathic vigilante Dexter Morgan.
Are you happy? Not the kind of happy where you’re laughing or walking around with a silly grin on your face, but rather the kind that makes you feel good about yourself. And the key to feeling good about yourself is knowing who you are and what you’re capable of, and having the knowledge, skills and abilities that are born of experience and confidence, and using those competencies to do good things for those who are counting on you, and believing you’re okay and feeling good about that. Put these into place in your life and you’ll have accomplishments to be proud of and purpose to look forward to. And then you’ll be happy, and those around you will be happy, and success will more easily be yours!
Friday, October 26, 2012
at 4:43 AM