An Olympic Challenge

By Elaine Baldwin | @elainehbaldwin

Just six more days and the 2012 Olympic Games will take its place in history and what a remarkable place it will have. The old adage “Thrill of victory and agony of defeat” aptly describes what has taken place on the world stage in London, England.

I have appreciated the extended coverage of the Olympic Games this summer. I’ve enjoyed watching the better known sports of soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, swimming and track & field. But, I’ve also benefited from observing lesser known sports such as; women’s boxing, men’s field hockey, water polo and numerous others.

And who knew a ping pong ball and a shuttlecock (the little feathery thing used in badminton) could travel faster than a speeding bullet right at someone’s head?! But in all that I have watched I have been most impressed with the dedication of the athletes circle of support. Michael Phelps has his coach of 16 years, his mom and family. The male gymnast, Danell Leyva’s coach is his dad. And the entire women’s gymnastics team has their own cheering section for each and every performance. We see these faces. We hear some of their wired comments and shouts of encouragement. But for every coach or cheerleader we see on our television screens, there were hundreds of others who never receive any camera or media time.

I am confident, though, that these unknown faces are the real heroes and valued greatly for their influence and input into the life of the athlete they invest in. They don’t do it for the glory or the camera time. In fact some of them will never be fully compensated for their investment of time and expertise. They stay on the front lines with their athlete because they believe in them, because they have a calling to invest in someone else.

I cannot imagine anyone making it to the ultimate athletic accomplishment, The Olympic Games, without a solid circle of support and influence. It just can’t be done with a solitary mindset. Can anything?

Is there anything we have done that we can truly claim we did it on our own? Someone taught the greatest thinkers, writers and philosophers the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. Someone gave the finest musicians their first instruments and lessons.

But most of all, we all have had someone or several someones come along side us when we had setbacks or failed. Even an Olympian needs that kind of someone to truly succeed.

So, what is this week’s one another living challenge? Be the person to come along side someone else and help them with their Olympic challenge. Don’t think you know anyone with that kind of challenge facing them? Think again! Think outside of sports and just look around you. I know you know someone who is facing a tough decision this week or is staring down a life-threatening disease, or is facing hurdle after hurdle in their quest for an enriching life. How can you help? How can you come along side?

Someone put Michael Phelps into his first pool. Someone stood Gabby Douglas on her first balance beam. And someone gave Justin Gatlin his first pair of running shoes.

Be that someone this week!

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