We all dream of being winners. We see it in our heads. The champagne. The tears. The shirts and hats. The embraces. The victory.
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We envision it lasting forever. From the court to the locker room to our front door. Everyone thinks we’re great, and we just proved it.
But in reality, the joy of this begins to fade as soon as you hit the shower. Somehow washing the sweat and dirt off also sheds some of the magic of the day.
You’re tired, and still have to travel, and still have to go to work in the morning.
Nothing really changes.
The vast majority of the world doesn’t care.
It’s not even important enough for the bother of asking.
No competitor wants to admit this. They don’t dare question whether their struggle was worth it.
Instead, they perpetuate their own bubbles of grandeur. They are atop the fraction of a fraction who competes, which somehow translates that they are at apex of all of mankind. It trickles into everything they do. They fold their laundry as a champion. They check out at the grocery store and stare at the clerk smiling, just waiting for them to ask if they are indeed the ones who recently won it all.
And they are almost always left wanting.
I asked a recent champion how winning a national title made her life better. After some composed thought, she hesitantly replied, “I guess it hasn’t”.
This same person pressed me to ask her what it’s like to be this same national champion just hours before, beaming, and when I asked she replied with an emphatic, “AWESOME!”
There’s a disconnect here.
What they want is to be lauded. They want to validate their efforts, telling stories about their guts and grit, and how they’ve reaped the due rewards of their hard work.
They want to be SEEN and TREATED like a champion. But there’s no real-life definition of what that means. It’s only as you imagined it.
They SHOULD be on top of the world, but nothing aside from that actual moment of winning reinforces this belief.
There is a brief and fleeting pinnacle, and a dramatic, concrete fall back to baseline.
But perhaps there is still a beautiful lesson learned here. The aftermath of winning a championship stands as the resolute reminder that we cannot escape our ordinary. That we ARE in fact, ordinary, and have extraordinary moments. The ordinary is our constant. It deserves our full attention as it lays itself out before us. It is what we do and repeat, and is the true essence of who we are. We, in fact, are worth celebrating. Win or lose. Under any circumstances or conditions.
We already have the medals we seek, and use them everyday.