Graceful Defeat
Graceful Defeat

Graceful Defeat

I am a very competitive person. It is my nature, my make-up. Childhood memories let me know that it has always been this way:

  • racing to the swings at Warriors Path during my 5 yr old b-day party
  • wrestling with my father on a daily basis knowing there would be a time that I could take him (you see, he committed to buying me a car if ever I could pin him – i never won that car)
  • speed racer big-wheels down the steepest hill in Chattanooga
  • the fastest to finish a bowl of fruity pebbles or cookie crisp
  • who can throw a football the furtherest
  • betting to see who can get the first kiss from the new girl in school
  • drag racing at 16
  • high school football – we had an awesome 1 win season my senior year
  • double dates – “they better not think they can take us in this putt-putt match”
  • let’s see who can finish their work the quickest
  • i will be the most successful among my peers
  • my postings to this website will be better than jeff’s and chris’

Through all these years of competition, I have regretfully experienced many defeats, like:

  • Year: 1990
  • Location: Morristown West High School
  • Event: Football Game
  • My Team: Sullivan Central Cougars
  • My Position: Slot Receiver
  • Ball: Cougar possession on the opponent 8 yard line
  • Alignment: Twins Left
  • Play: Cougar
  • Pass: To #16 – Matthew Cleek
  • Result: pick route works perfectly, cleek open in the end-zone, pass is on the money, and through the hands of cleek for an incompletion
  • Game Ending: SC Cougars lose by 4

Obviously, the 6 points that would have been associated with a reception in the end-zone would have provided more than was necessary to win the game. I remember this event as if it just happened. I remember the days following this game where I was miserable at the thought of my inadequacy. Why was this? Why are similar emotions present, even as an adult, when I don’t feel like I have measured up to the task at hand? I always expect to win. I have seen it as a matter of the continual pursuit of excellence. But, the truth is – I will not always come out on top of every situation in life. This being true, how should I deal with these moments. I am confident that God would not have me to react as I often have in the past.

<insert moment of enlightenment>

Around 3 o’clock this morning, I found out that Senator Obama had become the new President Elect. I was working with the TV off; so, I decided to flip on FOX News to see what was going on. As I tuned in, a replay of the concession speech given by the Republican Nominee, Senator McCain, was playing.

“In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his [Obama] success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving…

I don’t know what more we could have done to try to win this election. I’ll leave that to others to determine. Every candidate makes mistakes, and I’m sure I made my share of them. But I won’t spend a moment of the future regretting what might have been

I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president. And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties, but to believe, always, in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.

Americans never quit. We never surrender.

We never hide from history. We make history.

Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you all very much.”

</moment of enlightenment> – now that’s a graceful defeat