By Dr. Mark Mendeszoon
About 18 years ago at a District Championship High School Track Meet, my wife and I were standing on the railing by the third relay exchange zone and we couldn’t help be intrigued and somewhat amused by a runner jumping up and down shouting,
“It’s my time to shine.”
We didn’t know who he was nor whether his team was the favorite. Needless to say, this athlete received the baton in the back of the pack, ran like the wind and won his relay for his team. This young man was ready to compete and this was his ritual to elevate his game. After all these years, that experience ranks as one of my favorite moments in our great sport of running. Never, ever judge a book by its cover.
For an overwhelming majority of people, competition is a form of self-satisfaction, knowing that the dedication, sacrifice, compromise and hard work will provide some joy in achieving personal goals.
They have learned that there is only one winner or Best in Field, and if winning were everything, athletics as we know it would have a completely different landscape. In fact, athletics would be extinct.
However, the knowledge that this drive can also be applied to our lives in our work, careers, relationships and our health and fitness helps us to continue to grow and improve.
Not finishing first does not prohibit individuals from doing their best and enjoying the journey. In my experience with athletics and generally in life, much time is spent in the “valley” before reaching the summit.
In absolute competition there is no perfect performance and this is what drives people to continue to strive for that elusive outcome. This is what continues to fuel the desire which makes all those sacrifices worth it as we attain a personal best in whatever we do. Most of all, if we truly work hard the biggest reward should be one’s own self-satisfaction and happiness in the goals attained and transformation achieved through the journey.
Despite having some success in high school, college and post collegiately in track and field, I lost many more times than I have won, and can count on one hand the number of “perfect races” I have run.
However, I kept on striving and learning how to compete within myself. I have taken this approach to my professional career and personal life and realize that if I accept the best that I have done, I will never become the best that I can be. Improvement’s journey never ends! It is my hope that this philosophy in life trickles down to those around me and those that meet me.
“It is our time to shine!”