Compete with Honor

August 12, 2012

Lolo Jones failed to medal in London.

“Yeah, I didn’t walk away with a medal, or run away with a medal. I think there’s lessons to be learned when you win and there’s lessons to be learned when you lose.” — Lolo Jones

Judging from primetime viewer ratings, it’s safe to say the entire country has been mesmerized by the drama and folly of the London 2012 Olympics. And why not? It’s easy to get caught up in Michael Phelps’ all-time Olympic record; or Misty May and Kerri Walsh defying time itself and winning a third straight gold medal; or marveling at Usain Bolt’s otherworldly speed; or being awestruck by Gabby Douglas’ poise. These athlete’s are a marvel to behold; their strength, speed, and grace is nothing short of amazing.

But what about all the other competitors lagging behind the superstars? The one’s who don’t have multimillion-dollar endorsement deals; the one’s who aren’t asked what they eat for breakfast in nationally televised interviews? Are they no less incredible? Are they no less worthy? Just qualifying for the Olympics is an extraordinary achievement. Just competing is courageous.

Sarah Attar is the first Saudi woman to compete in Olympic track and field

The same goes for you dear Thespian. Take pride in your efforts. You may not be scoring major film roles or network TV shows (yet), but you’re chasing your dream. And that takes guts. It takes hard work, determination, chutzpah, and it takes tremendous courage. To step away from what’s expected of you–a steady job, security, health insurance etc.–and embark upon a warrior’s journey is noble; it is worthwhile. So at this point in time, you may not be up on the podium biting gold, silver or bronze, but you are out there competing. You are participating. You’re putting it all on the line for something you believe in. So, as the London Games come to a close, toast the champions, raise a glass for the medalists; but don’t forget to toast the players. Chances are they’re working just as hard as the champions.