Hail to the Victors Valiant

They say the most common attribute among champions is their burning, borderline pathological desire to win. Perhaps that explains a lot about why I am not the champion of anything. There has been little in my life that inspired such a hunger.

Despite being born with a competitive streak a mile wide, my inspiration was never victory, but fear of failure. Those are two very different motivators. One can only be quenched by winning. The other can be buried deep, hidden, and quenched by resolving not to compete in the first place.

I have never taken well to losing. I have always driven myself to achieve and succeed in everything I do out of a desperate fear of failing. In fact, I like to tell people that there are only 2 things I ever quit in my life. Guitar lessons at age 12, and typing during my Senior year at N.D. I still carry the guilt and stigma of failure at both, despite the fact that I have no interest in being able to do either one.

Anyway, I was reminded of this again last night listening to the umpteenth inspirational story of some winter games athlete that overcame great odds to make it to the Olympics. I am so relieved that I never had to worry about such a thing. I don’t think my nerves could have handled such talent. It would have killed me to have a goal so high and unattainable that failure was a near certainty.

So here’s to the under achievers! The folks that were faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, shrugged, and opened another beer. This Bud’s for you folks! Thanks for validating me.


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