I am writing this blog from my hotel room in Tokyo, and fresh on my mind is my visit to the Tokyo Olympic Museum. The museum itself was enjoyable, but was not particularly exceptional to many other museums. Yet, the experience sits on my mind. I've been wondering why.
I think, perhaps, that my visit was a reminder that as coaches and sports professionals, sport is bigger than ourselves. Seeing artifacts that span 100+ years of sport reminded me that we have unique opportunities to affect history. Sure, we may not coach a legendary Olympian or we may not write ourselves into the history books. But, whatever sport we are in, and whatever level we coach, attending this museum was a reminder to me that our involvement in sport is an honor and is bigger than ourselves.
By the way, that last picture below? That's the first time the Olympic logo was ever seen in print, and it was first produced in a letter written by the founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, in 1913. And, in case you're wondering, the colors in the rings represent the colors in the flags of all of the countries that attended the Olympics in 1912.
Sometimes it is easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day details of our jobs. The little things force us away from the larger view of what we do. My visit to the museum, and witnessing historical records that date back to the very beginning of the Olympiad, remind me to slow down, appreciate the responsibility I have to others and the sports in which I work, and to work toward the values that exceed my personal needs. I hope this thought of the month encourages you to do the same. Take a moment. Reflect. Remember why you do what you do.
Recently, I had the pleasure of having lunch with Tharon Austen Drake, a medal winning U.S. Paralympics athlete. I wanted to share something Tharon said about qualifying for the Paralympics, which I wrote down at the time and has stuck with me since.
"I missed the Olympics by one spot: I got a hat, a bag, and a drug test. It wasn't that fun."
Clearly, that unfortunate experience of just missing out has stuck with Tharon, and he has made significant performance strides since (see photo). He has set challenging goals for the future and that experience has changed him.
If you're an athlete, make every effort NOW to achieve your potential. Learn from Tharon's experience. Thanks to Paula Costa for the photo.
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