Our family has enjoyed watching the Olympics over the past week. While I like seeing the athletes compete, what I have been drawn to is those that fall short - those that train and dedicate themselves for their moment only to find their dream not realized. The cameras follow the three that finish on the podium, but what becomes of those that quietly slip away in the background?
Since Tyler passed I think about those moments more. Tyler loved sports and would have loved watching these Olympic games. I think back to the games he played and the dreams he had and realize that for every father celebrating his son's gold medal performance or game winning home run is another father quietly consoling the son that threw the final pitch.
What becomes of this boy?
During an interview after winning the gold medal an athlete said confidently that she was raised to be a competitor - that she was raised to be a champion. I had to pause and think after hearing that interview. I didn't know how I felt about what she said and I still don't entirely. For me it somehow demeans the importance of those that fade in the background, that they are somehow less - that they are not champions. I believe there is equal if not greater value in the response of those that fall short. I wish we could see into the exchange between that loving father and the boy that threw the final pitch.
I guess I think about my Superman in this light - it's what he taught me each and every day - there will be those that stand on the podium and those that don't. What is truly important is each individual response and in particular the response of the one without the medal. He taught me that we all have been given the strength to win and to overcome - we all have been raised to be champions. It's just that some will have to be just a little bit stronger - some will have to be strong enough to throw that last pitch - strong enough to be the one to teach others how to live even as their own life fades in the background. Ironic that I would learn so much about the truly important aspects of life from a boy that was losing his. Cherish every moment. Tyler's Dad Whatever It Takes