weekend I watched the final gymnastics trials for the U.S. Women's
Olympic team. The talent and determination of these young
women is a tribute to their spirit and commitment to their sport.
I was absolutely in awe of their ability and courage. The
physical and mental strength of all who competed was an
After the competition concluded, the competitors retired to a
large dressing room to await their fate, as the judges made the
decision of who would make the final cut. The five minutes
or so the judges took to make their decision must have seemed like
an eternity to those who had spent a lifetime of difficult and
painful work, day in and day out, preparing for this one moment.
Needless to say, many hearts were broken that night, as only a few
of the many who competed were chosen to represent their country.
Personally, I have never worked as hard as any of those young
women for anything I've every wanted or have attempted in my life.
I can only imagine the pressure they were under to perform and to
win, and the heartache felt by those who didn't make the team.
It's interesting to watch something like this unfold - the drama
of human experience.
I couldn't help but wonder how many of
those young women walked out of the arena that evening with heads
hung low, thinking of themselves as losers. To do so would
have been tragic indeed, as there were no losers competing that
night - only winners. No one who works that hard, who has
that kind of determination and courage to be the best they can
possibly be, is ever a loser.
In our own lives, we may never get the chance of fame, glory or
great wealth, but these things hold very little true meaning.
For self-worth, character, and whether we're winners or losers,
isn't determined by the number of trophies on our shelf, but
rather in how we lead our lives, the effort we put forth, and by
the decisions we make each and every day. The old saying,
"It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the
game," is very true indeed.
The reality is, there are no prizes for hard work and commitment.
There isn't any gold medal for living our lives with dignity,
courage and honor. We do these things for ourselves - for
who, and what, we want to be. For honor, dignity, courage,
commitment, determination, hard work and sacrifice have little to
do with any prize, but have everything to do with being our best.
We'd all like to be the one standing on the tallest platform - the
one who gets the gold medal, but the fact is, being the best you
can be doesn't always win a prize. But in the end, it's all
that truly matters.
T.W. Winslow is a popular writer and columnist. His
Thoughts" column used to be read by many people around the world each week.
Integrity is the first
step to true greatness. People love to
praise, but are slow
to practice it. To maintain it in high
places costs self-denial;
in all places it is liable to opposition,
but its end is
and the universe will yet do it homage.