One of the women runners competing at the Olympic Trials told a reporter last week, “I refuse to lose.” And while she did not win that particular race, she did indeed earn a spot at the Olympics. However, had she not made the trials at all, you knew from the determination in her face that she was a ‘winner.’
Some people are just like that: no matter what Life throws at them they’re ready. No whining. No complaining. You don’t have to jump start them. They keep themselves in play. While others stand under the apple tree waiting for the fruit to drop, they’re out planting seeds. While some bemoan their lives, they’re out making one.
They’re all around us. The pro football player I met at the computer store today told me he does 30-second intervals all day long to keep his core strong. “It’s my off-season, lazy time,” he laughed, “but can’t let up. When you get out on the field, you can’t show any fear. Gotta stay strong.”
A young, college boy sent me an email asking if he could come by to demonstrate some cutlery he is selling to help pay his tuition bills. He doesn’t know it yet, but tomorrow he will sell me some paring knives and perhaps a sharpener.
Last week, a woman with no arm challenged me to do the butterfly using only my legs. I felt fortunate that it was an option I could try, not live with for the rest of my life. She donates her time at the VA working with amputees.
At the grocery store tonight, a sharply-dressed, 84 year-old woman was steadying her husband with one arm as she put items in her cart with the other. I had seen her before, so stopped to introduce myself. “I’m Anna,” she smiled. “and this is Walter.” It was clear that he had already begun the childlike slide into Alzheimer’s. “Last time you were alone,” I chided. “But this time you have a handsome guy with you.” She stopped, looked straight at him and smiled, “Yes. Aren’t I lucky?”
I wish you could have seen the love in her face when she said that. All of our days are numbered. None of us will win the final race. But while we’re counting down, we can refuse to lose.
Helen Hudson is the author of, “Kissing Tomatoes,” now on Kindle.