Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Today's Defeat is Tomorrow's Gold Medal

I've been staying up late watching the Olympics this week.  Much to my surprise, I find a compelling parallel between athletes and writers.  There's so much hard work and dedication that goes into reaching one's goal; there are so many failures and disappointments behind every story of victory.  

This fact is comforting to me: A goal can be lost due to some small strange variable: the wind, a sudden unexplained loss of balance, a pull of focus from one's own performance to a competitor, or as above with LoLo Jones, the miscalculation of a hurdle.  Nonetheless the failed olympiad is still an incredible athlete.  

It's just that, well, shit happens.  

This year's medal winners have previously fallen off the beam, tripped over a hurdle, run out of steam before the finish line.  What can you do when it goes wrong?  Pick yourself up and start training for the next round. Think of all the dudes that went home losers in 2004 and are sweeping up gold in 2008.  A good lesson, don't you think?

It's a bit more sappy than I like to get, maybe, but still good to remember that disappointment is a part of victory.  That's what LROD is about in part...the hard travelled road to victory, the stumbles along the way.  Keep that in mind, as you sweat over your plots, characters, and metaphors today.  


Renee Thompson said...

it's interesting that you've drawn this parallel, as it's one i often draw in my weight watchers class each saturday morning; i've been a lifetime member for years, but i MUST attend weekly meetings to keep the weight off, and i often share with the group how much the weight watchers message speaks to my writer's life: establish your goal, work hard, and expect that it won't come easily. above all, keep at it.

Anonymous said...

I had similar thoughts about athletes and writers. While practice and training are done in private, success and failure can be very, very public. And you get so obsessed with striving for success. I really felt for Lolo.

Last night after the men's 200m, the officials had to disqualify two runners for stepping on the inside lines and Walter Dix got the bronze. When he was informed, he replied in a bummed tone, "But I still lost."

I nodded with bittersweet recognition. We can get so wrapped up in pursuing the big success (winning the race, publishing The Big Book), that the small victories don't register as much.