Replaying Highlights and Downfalls


highlgihts, success, failure, competitor


I, like so many others around the world, have spent hours watching the Olympic Games over the past week. I’ve been repeatedly amazed by the competitors’ athletic abilities and determination. I’ve been inspired by snowboarders; I’ve been hypnotized by curling; and I’ve joked about how being a luge rider doesn’t look too difficult. While watching the competitions, I’ve noticed one common denominator amongst the commentators: the replay and discussions of the athletes’ highlight reels and downfalls.

I held my breath as I watched Shaun White fly and flip through the air with a snowboard attached to his feet and couldn’t wait to see the replays of his near-perfect performance. Running alongside repetitive airings of White’s performance was the story of a sexual harassment suit against him.

As I watched an ice skater fall during the opening of her routine, I knew I’d see the replay from all angles when she completed her dance. And I did. I saw a close-up of the skater’s feet as the commentators discussed exactly what she did wrong to cause her fall.

As viewers, we love a good replay, don’t we? We get excited to see the highlights of a winning performance, and we want to see exactly what went wrong when there’s a fall. However, neither of those moments are the sum of a competitor. We tend to forget about the years of exhaustive training and the discipline the athlete exercises just to make it to the Olympics. We narrow their work down to one epic or defeating moment, and we watch that moment over and over.

We tend to do the same thing in our everyday lives. When someone we know has great success, we revel in their glory, ignoring the work they put forth to gain success. We delight in that one moment, highlighting their success on repeat.

And when someone fails, we’re quick to forget their hard work and effort and even prior successes. We talk about what went wrong and how they could’ve done things better or differently. We focus on what is perhaps their lowest moment and swear we’d never fail so miserably.

We forget that neither success nor failure defines a person. The measure of a man or woman is in their willingness to continue on the journey after success or failure. It’s in the heart of one who says, You might keep replaying my success (or failure), but I must continue living my life. It’s in the soul of those who know their reason for living, their purpose. It’s in the eyes of one who sees past highlights and failures to the humanity of us all.


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