As night falls on a chilly Autumn eve, I am reminded of the meaning behind perseverance. It is not carrying thru when the world is turning your way. It is pushing thru against all odds when the deck is stacked against you. It’s holding a King when the dealer has an ace showing, passing back the seven and saying ‘HIT ME’.
Yesterday was a rainy, cold, crummy day. In the midst of that cold rain my 15-year-old practiced outside for the halftime show during class time without a jacket. After lessons and pushing thru a circuit swim practice she returned to practice for halftime another hour in the cold rain before suiting up and heading to the stadium. The temperature was fifty degrees at kick off. They sat in the stands in uniform on wet bleachers, cheering for a team in the throes of a difficult contest before getting up and going to march in forty-something temps on the open field to play for a less than packed house. Many stayed home to keep warm and dry. Not them. The show must go on and the band was there to provide. The unsung heroes to me will always be the ones who do what the masses won’t.
Why do I tell you this? Because this morning before the sun peered over the horizon that same 15-year-old got up with no voice, clogged ears, and a hack that would put smokers to shame. She got up, put on her suit and sweats, grabbed her bags and went to school to board the bus for a 4 hour swim meet in another town. She didn’t want to be there, by rights shouldn’t have been there, but there she was. A frog screaming for her team from the end of the pool and pulling a little harder as they in turn cheered for her when it was her time to swim. Not an olympian, but an olympian effort as she swam three events in the last twenty minutes of the meet, two of them back to back.
I am reminded by her perseverance of the power of will. The thing inside all of us that will push us to do what is right and necessary when in our heart of hearts the easy path is in the opposite direction. It is true for writing, for work, for play, for life.
The swim team shirt this year says, “Adversity causes some men to break. It causes great men to break records.” I would add great young women.