We just got done watching the Olympic Qualifying coverage on NBC. The Olympics are always a great inspiration and carry incredible story lines of courage, perseverance, failure and achievement. Now that we have an aspiring gymnast under our roof, that set of events gets major airtime in our home. As I just watched, I couldn’t help but think of one word to describe the moment…
In case you missed it, an American sweetheart from the 2008 games, Nastia Liukin, was making one final push for the 2012 games. She’s not the favorite any longer. In a sport where the shelf life is very brief, she knew her opportunity was limited. Pushing her were younger, stronger, hungrier gymnasts. If she made the team, it would have been an incredible storyline. I wish I could tell a great story about how she performed well beyond expectations. The truth is, she underperformed. She fell at several key moments. She missed her mark on the bars both qualifying days.
But she kept getting up.
She kept competing.
I want to live like that. I want to compete, even when I know the cards aren’t in my favor. I want a faith that says “what’s the worst that can happen”? She gave it the effort that could have landed her in the Olympics one more time. One more shot. I want that kind of perseverance. I want to squeeze every last moment out of the “shot” to make your mark. And when it’s all over, when the time has come, I want to exit with the grace of Nastia Liukin…
“It was an emotional but amazing way to end my career,” Liukin said on NBC. “I understand that my time is up and I’m so excited to cheer these girls on.”
That’s it. I want to go out with emotion. I want to go out with a passion that gave it all I could. And when that “time is up”, I want to be excited to cheer on those that are taking my place. I want to support the next generation and leave whatever arena I am exiting in the hands of those that will continue the tradition. I want to exit with grace.