Sporting competition is one of the greatest levelers there is.

Competition allows no hiding place: Competitive sport doesn't care where you come from, how wealthy you are, or what you think you deserve. It repays you in direct proportion to your preparation in most cases.

For some, this thought is enough to keep them away from ever wishing to compete in any sporting activity. For others it is their motivation, and excites a passion within them to go out there and put everything they have on the line. I can safely say, that I was always in the latter category. Competition was a thrill to me, and always inspired me to go back for more, despite the many spectacular failures I managed to accrue along the way!

Sport was the one platform which I felt the buzz and excitement of having the opportunity to perform and being uniquely accountable and responsible for the outcome. Yes, team sport is different, but in the individuality of Track & Field lies its greatness. Each competitor stands on the start line alone, accountable for their actions. No one else can influence the outcome at the point of no return, its all on you. The individual opportunity to demonstrate greatness embodies the draw of athletics for many.

What defines Greatness?

To me, greatness is relative, and highly individual: It is defined by what you're capable of compared to what you ultimately achieve.

Achieving greatness doesn't necessarily mean you're going to win everything you enter, or ultimately become an Olympian. To me, it means you have laid everything on the line in your quest to achieve all that you can. You've tried your hardest, trained your smartest, left no stone unturned in preparation. You then put yourself out there in the field of competition to make every effort to showcase that work.

My definition of greatness personified is when an individual performs to the absolute best of their physical and mental capabilities. They keep their head about them despite the competition, their own uncertainties, that of others, their set backs. They strive for success, and if they fall short, they walk away knowing they've done everything in their power to achieve.

 My definition of greatness personified is when an individual performs to the absolute best of their physical and mental capabilities, leaving no stone unturned.

My definition of greatness personified is when an individual performs to the absolute best of their physical and mental capabilities, leaving no stone unturned.

One of the most compelling verses I've read is Rudyard Kipling's poem, If. In this poem, Kipling outlines the battle we all face during times of uncertainty or challenge, and his words resplendently describe the human battle with challenge...

To me, this poem sums up the life of a competitor. So, for all those who posess that competitive fire, I'll leave you with the words of Rudyard Kipling to ponder over.

Yours in Sport, 

Ellie Spain

 

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on! '

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

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