Failing On Your Way To Success

Work: day off. Rain. Mostly.

Ramblings: There is nothing new. Only restatements of what we already know. I confess, I’m a soft touch for an Ironman story. The winners are super-fit professionals with more focus than I will ever have. Admirable, but with as much relevance to my life as the NBA Draft. At the end of the hour, the TV coverage of the Ironman World Championship in Kona HW picks up the amateurs. Folks chugging in to make the time limit for 17 hours of continuous exercise. Still not relevant to anything I’m planning to jump off the couch to do, but such wonderful stories: a smoker who lost 50 pounds, a grandfather running for the first time with his marathoner granddaughter, a man dedicating the race to a cancer-surviving family member, and so on. No wonder I was a sucker for You Are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World’s Toughest Triathlon by Jacques Steinberg [Viking 2011] despite the hardback price.

In trolling for the date of the next telecast, I found a 2010 post from Tony Austin’s swimming blog, SCAQBlog. At the end of a post about a now-defunct ticket preference program, he says, “I look at them [a photo of his Ironman bib and jersey number] from time to time to remember what it took to allow me to get where I am today despite tremendous deficits. I credit that race and Julie Moss for convincing me that failure is temporary and that you can even ‘fail’ your way to success. I kid you not.”

Try, try again. Winners never quit. Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before. But this word choice got past my defenses. FAIL has such a note of finality. You fail a class. You fail a blood test. These are not things you recover from with a perky attitude. I berate myself as a failure often. Yet, here is this guy saying that one can fail and still succeed. Intriguing.

BTW, it’s not surprising that a restatement would get through to me, since getting excited about the shades of meaning between one word and another is what folks pay me for.

No, I haven’t given a review of the book. Either the title has you foaming at the mouth to contact your book pusher of choice or you’re wondering WTF.

Your favorite non-equine sports book?

Categories: Blogging, Horses, Sports Psychology, Swimming

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3 replies »

  1. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Race car driving.

    From the author’s website: “The Art of Racing in The Rain has everything: love, tragedy, redemption, danger, and–best of all–the canine narrator Enzo. This old soul of a dog has much to teach to us about being human. I loved this book.” — Sara Gruen, Author of Water for Elephants

    I gave it to a friend. Her comment: “thought I’d just skim this one, but it caught me and I loved it!”

  2. Oh, I quite enjoyed the Art of Racing in the Rain – it’s rare that a book moves me to tears, but that one had me *sobbing.*

    The book I find most sobering in the arena of what happens when one fails at what one loves is “Into Thin Air.” Personally, I prefer challenges that will not kill you if improperly executed. So, ****eventing is not in my future.

    But, with horses, I failed all the time. I figure it’s all about learning and growing, so, I don’t let it get me down. Heck, I wrote a book about what a failure I am. It doesn’t have a negative impact on my self esteem.

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