"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Thursday, August 19, 2004
myth Function: noun
Etymology: Greek mythos
1 a : a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon b : PARABLE, ALLEGORY
2 : What our national athletic heroes become, in our society
I love the Olympics.
Most sports just don't enthuse me. Baseball, for example. I've only ever watched one professional baseball game from beginning to end, and that was because a friend of mine took me to the game with him. I get excited about football about once every five years or so, and we won't even mention golf.
But, the Olympics. There's just something different about them. Each time they are held, either winder or summer games, they are always touched by the heroic.
I don't know about you, but I crave heroic.
Inside me, there is something that cries out that yes, there is a place where good triumphs, a place where hard work pays off, a place where the underdog can rise up and become a champion. A place where hardships are difficult but surmountable, where life works the way I always believed it was supposed to.
I will never forget until the day I die sitting there in 1996 holding my breath as Kerri Strug ran for her vault with a damaged ankle she could barely walk on. Sacrificing herself for the team, she flung her slight frame into the air and stuck the landing, even though the pain was excruciating, clinching the gold medal for her team.
And tonight, we saw another pseudomythical performance by Paul Hamm. After literally falling off the mat onto the judges table during his vault in the men's all around, he rose to the challenge and clinched the gold medal by following the disaster with two of the best routines he had ever done, winning gold by only thousandths of a point over the very capable and talented Koreans.
Kerri and Paul, heroes both of them. When it was so easy to give up, they picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and kept going.
What a good lesson.
If I could take my personal world view and distill it down to one page, those names would be on it along with so many other heroes. Heroes are not "other people."
Heroes are us.
Each of us has challenges in our lives of one sort or another. Some have more than others. Every one of us has the opportunity to become a Hercules in our own right.
Heroes may be fighting in a sports venue, in circumstances and danger, or just on a one to one or even a personal basis. The shared trait is that they are fighting. They refuse to admit defeat. If they get knocked down, they will get back up, over and over and over.
It is never the winning that makes a hero. It is the struggle.
Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes.
Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881)