I truly believe that disappointment and failure breeds the passion for victory and success. That feeling of wanting something so badly, only in the end not to obtain or achieve your goal is a hard lesson. I’ve experienced that disappointment through sports, education and life. Some of those life experiences worse than others. One things for sure, I’ve always had this tenacity to come back and fight harder.
Circa late 1970s and I’m in Middle School in Victoria, TX. I’m in the 6th grade and interested in trying out for the girls basketball team. I love basketball and I wanted to be on the team, so badly. The day comes to try out and let’s just say…hmmm I had a lot of work to do. All in all I thought I did fairly well and when try outs were over we were told that the team postings would be listed on the locker room wall by the end of the week.
Friday was finally here and there was a buzz of excitement in the air. If you’ve ever tried out for any sport, you are well aware of the jitters that go along with waiting to find out if you made the team. I make my way down the cream-colored, fluorescent lighted hallway. I see the two lists on the wall. One is for the “A” team and the other the “B” team ~ the A team being the more skilled. I move to the front of the crowd, I can already see disappointment in some girls faces and joy in others. Some girls are running away crying and others laughing wildly. You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach, the twisting of nervousness and the lump that forms in your throat waiting for good or bad news, I had it. I look at the A list and my name is not there. Okay, I understand that one. I step to the right to look at the B list…and my name isn’t there either. Disappointment ~ that split second of reality that occurs when the realization failure is taking place. That point between anger, sadness and bewilderment. I was disappointed. I turned to my friend Stacy, who also didn’t make the team, and said let’s try out for something else.
I was already plotting my comeback. I wouldn’t be denied. No way ~ no how. So, we had to settle for tennis that year. No offense to all the tennis players, tennis is great. Really. Ok, it wasn’t great for me, but it kept me busy.
That winter I practiced my basketball skills every day. I’m not kidding, every day. I wanted to be on the team and I was willing to do what it took to make the team. I dribbled here, there and everywhere. I improved. When it came time to try out in 7th grade I made the B team. Again, I wanted to be better and again I practiced. I let my passion for the sport lead me. By 8th grade I was on the A team, starting point guard. It wasn’t easy, but through hard work and not giving up I achieved my goal.
I picked up my race bib for my first marathon today, the St. Louis Rock and Roll Marathon. This moment took me back to that time in middle school. The marathon is a goal I want to achieve. There were moments when I thought I would never get to this point. Through hard work and perseverance I will run in my first marathon at age 45. My passion has brought me to this place. The marathon is only the vehicle for this passion. As you know, it’s the journey.