On Friday, I dusted off the dress uniform and broke out the brass to represent at a funeral of a woman close to our department. She approached everything in her life with gusto. Among other activities, she was an athlete at and motivational speaker for the Special Olympics.
During the service, two of the speakers cited the Special Olympics Athlete Oath:
Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.
The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
No. The goal is not to take part. Not one person in the 2012 parade of athletes was there because she thought London was a fun place to visit last summer. Even the most Eddie the Eagle dressage/jumping/eventing rider cherished a faint and secret hope that he would have the ride of a lifetime. Everyone who has ever competed in a backyard schooling show has imagined what it would be like to step on to that podium, to lead that victory gallop. If that is true of us average riders, how much more so for Olympic athletes? You don’t get to be the best in your country, and therefore on an Olympic team, by cherishing your collection of participation awards.
Yes, cheating is bad. Yes, there are more important things in life. Given a standard level of decency, the goal of competition is to win. The Special Olympics has that right.
So, funerals, bad. Inspiring messages, good