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11 January 2008

Climb for a Cure...and Then Some

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms; the great devotions; and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

Stirs the soul, eh? Yeah, me too.

Are you "in the arena" of life? Have you devoted yourself to a "worthy cause" lately?

Tomorrow, Saturday January 12th, my friend Trout and his climbing partner Mark, will be attempting to summit the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, Aconcagua. Their conquest, should they succeed, will be in honor of Trout's father, who is battling non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma right now...and hopefully for a long, long time.

If you want to follow Trout's and Mark's summit attempt, and perhaps more importantly, support his mission to raise awareness and money for the nonprofit foundation that needs your help to help his ailing father....would you please do so? and at the link over to the right. Find out how to get your own very cool collector Aconcagua t-shirt too.

From cruising around the Blogosphere this week, it seems there are a fair amount of folks that emote through their blogs as, perhaps, a form of self therapy. Some lament their lack of this or their lack of that, or the fate of this type of relationship or that type of relationship. Firstly, I think that's great (not their admitted unhappiness...but their freely writing about it!). Writing can be such an expressive, safe and anonymous form of release. Plus the web should do something for us besides being just a source of videos of kids wracking themselves, stories about why the (Dems or GOP, take your pick) is evil and endless sports statistics.

Secondly, I wonder if we are being a little too hard on ourselves?

Teddy's quote above and one called "Press On" by Calvin Coolidge are two faves of mine (that's not entirely true, I have thousands of favorite quotes, indexed by name and theme).

They endure, to me anyway, not as much for the promise of greatness but for the importance of never, ever quitting. I could fill pages with quotes about that very thing and it would be my most ardent wish for my children to carry with them through life.

Even Sir Ed Hillary, who passed away this week, was steadfast in his humility about being a 'normal, ordinary guy' who just climbed a mountain. That mountain of course happened to be Everest, the tallest on the planet; and oh yeah, he and and his Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first ever to do it and live to tell about it. The difference? He got in the arena and despite his critics, he never left. What he did was almost secondary to the fact that he just DID it, and he wasn't even wearing Nike shoes.

What is the difference between Sir Edmund Hillary/Trout and the thousands millions of us that will not be standing on top of a mountain peak this weekend? Besides not having to sleep with hot water bottles to stay warm and carry our house on our shoulders...I'd say there's not much difference.

Whatever arena you find yourself climbing into this weekend, please send safe thoughts to our climbers and to Trout's Dad. And whether you are playing a sport, watching a sport, reading to your child, cooking a meal or dating the mate of your dreams ... do it with enthusiasm and devotion. Because no matter how it turns out, the feeling of something is always better than never feeling anything at all.


Dana said...

Because no matter how it turns out, the feeling of something is always better than never feeling anything at all.

It took me many (too many) years to figure out that even if I failed, I was still moving forward.

Great, insightful post!

Michael M. said...

Thank you! There is always SOMETHING to learn, huh?