Now that the football season is no longer inspiring my Sundays, I turned to Olympic figure skating! I find the couples’ synchronized twizzles (multi-rotational one foot turns) in ice dancing moved me to instant tears, just as the running back who twizzles away from four or five 300-pound linemen to run the length of the field and score. Really.
Sports have always been a great metaphor for life’s more difficult lessons. The ability to be heroic, that we have within us, is summed up by the quote credited to Vince Lombardi about leaving it all on the field (or the ice). The actual quote is our “finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that (we) hold dear, is that moment when (we) have worked our hearts out in a good cause and lie exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.” And that’s what inspires me: EFFORT! The individual determination to make it, whether it’s a touchdown or a triple toe loop!
So you know why my tears flowed as I watched our American ice dancing pair, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, efforting their guts out to win the Gold Medal at the Olympics last week! They are the first Americans to win the ice dancing Gold and to receive the highest Olympic score ever recorded in the category! Not only were they technically perfect, they were emotional, passionately connecting with the music and with each other! This was the culmination, they commented, of a 17-year relationship skating together—since they were 10 and 9 years old! Their mothers matched them up at a local skating rink in Michigan, and the moms were on full view, hugging each other in the stands in Sochi. Here’s the inspirational kicker about Meryl Davis: she was diagnosed with dyslexia in the third grade and struggled with reading until the 11th grade! Then she made the National Honor Society and graduated from high school with a Phi Beta Kappa! Never let a “diagnosis” get you down, yes?
The women’s figure skating championship was also awesome. There was some debate about the judges awarding the Gold Medal to the Russian skater, Adelina Sotnikova. The South Korean reigning champion from 2010, Yuna Kim, was technically perfect, and won the Silver. So was Carolina Kostner, from Italy, who won the Bronze. But what distinguished the winner is she skated with the most abandon and heart. She even gave a little wave to the judges as she glided by, which, at first, I reacted to negatively—all my proper “shouldn’ts” kicked in. But yes, she was emotional, joyous in fact, and that’s leaving it all out on the field (ice), isn’t it?
We can’t wait to do our job absolutely perfectly before we do it with 100% of our effort and heart. We need to give renewed energy every day—even when we are reinventing ourselves, doing something we haven’t done for the past 20 years. We need to live our life like our life depends on it—because it does, you know.