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.
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,