One of the myriad ways in which I am a lucky man is based, at least originally, on proximity. I am fortunate enough to live in Central New York, where I have the pleasure of reading the writings of the great Sean Kirst.
Sean has been writing for our local morning newspaper for a couple of decades now. For much of that time he has been for me the window through which a lot of our problems and issues take on a human face. It may be easy to dismiss data and theory, it is much more difficult to dismiss people. Especially as Sean introduces them to us. He has been our local treasure. Now, of course, you can read his work from wherever you are at syracuse.com.
It was while reading this morning’s column that I found myself repeating a strongly held belief.
Of course, “champions” terminology is lifted directly from athletic endeavors, where there is very often a winner and a loser. Sports can be nuanced, but not nearly as frustratingly so as living a life. Back when I was a radio broadcaster, more than being a big sports fan, it is this reason that made me prefer doing sportscasts to news. In sports, the worst thing that happens most of the time is that somebody loses a game.
Sports champions are made by excelling over the long haul, but they rarely go without defeat. In the National Football League, for example, there has been a single championship team that has not lost a single game in a season. That was 42 years ago.
In that way, sports are very much like life. Some of us will have an easier time. Some of us will struggle. All of us will lose, and to ultimately succeed, all of us most overcome.
We overcome our past. We overcome our present. We overcome disabilities and weaknesses. We overcome enemies and friends. We overcome ourselves.
What defines champions, in sports and in life, is never giving up. We can rest. We can reflect. We can reassess. We must keep going.
We must overcome.