This past Saturday I spent the day with my family at a Rhythmic Gymnastics competition for the Special Olympics. I expect that most people have heard about just how amazing it feels to be part of these events and how inspiring the athletes are. Both are absolutely true. And there was more: I learned something, the simplest lesson; the kind that we so readily overlook in our quest to fit in.
Let me win, but if I can not win, let me be brave in the attempt.
I have, in the past, heard people suggest that it isn’t hard to be brave when you don’t know better (the implication being that these athletes don’t “get” that they should be afraid). Complete and utter bullshit. These athletes know far better than we typical folk just how judgmental and cruel the world can be. We, the typical folk, have made sure that they know.
They still show up. And they leave it all out there on the field. With a smile.
With a smile.
I had been seeing it, but not realizing that they were being brave and they were happy.
Perhaps it is because we are so rarely brave that most people approach courage with reticence and think of it as a sacrifice. Maybe these athletes are so accustomed to being brave that it isn’t a hardship. Whatever the reason, the result is powerful. At least it was for me.
I am sometimes so afraid of judgment that I won’t let even my hard drive see what I am writing. It makes me uncomfortable and takes conscious effort for me to show my work to others.
Maybe if I practiced a little more, being brave wouldn’t be so tough.
If you want to learn how to live like a boss, I highly recommend spending some time with a Special Olympian.