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Profit From Misfortune

 

Meghan Vogel was about to finish dead last in a race that she had hoped to win.

Vogel isn’t regularly a loser, in fact she’s one of the best runners in the state of Ohio.

Earlier that day she had won the state title in the 1600 meters.

But now the 3200 meters was proving to be a different story.

There was no doubt that she would be the final finisher.

Only a few dozen yards ahead of her was Sophomore Arden McMath.

This race hadn’t gone well for her either.

With no way of winning,

McMath had to be taking solace in the fact that she wouldn’t finish last.

Finishing last is an embarrassment.

To be the worst competitor on the field is an idea that every athlete abhors.

Because of this they train and discipline their bodies to withstand the rigors of competition,

working for an excellence in practice that produces greatness of achievement over sustained periods of time.

But this training isn’t always enough.

When the human body has had enough, it’s had enough.

Arden McMath’s body had had enough,

and it was about to betray her.

While the human body is much stronger than we believe it to be,

it also isn’t as strong as the mind or the spirit is.

Runners with more determination than strength know this.

It isn’t rare to see footage of a spent athlete attempting to force themselves across a finish line.

In these scenarios the desire to continue competing causes the mind to send signals to the body parts,

even when those body parts have lost the ability to respond properly.

The spastic movements are a sharp contrast to the graceful, disciplined movements displayed only moments before.

If finishing last is an embarrassment, failing to finish from exhaustion is a humiliation.

McMath’s limbs stopped cooperating.

Her lungs grew shallow.

Her vision began to give way.

In less than a second she would be an unconscious heap on the track.

McMath’s misfortune had provided a miraculous opportunity for Meghan Vogel.

All she had to do was keep striding to finish ahead of her doomed rival.

She only needed to make sure she didn’t bump into her as she passed,

Because interfering with another runner disqualifies you from a race.

Even though she had fallen, Arden McMath didn’t stay on the ground.

Instead of passing her Meghan Vogel interrupted the public meltdown.

You’ve no doubt already seen the video.

You’ve probably also already heard Vogel talk about the bond between distance runners,

and how her mother is her coach.

But have you considered that Meghan Vogel chose to finish the race in last place?

If it’s difficult to ignore the lump in your throat as Vogel carries McMath towards the finish line,

it’s nearly impossible to hold back the tears as she stops before the marker to force McMath across first.

In that moment Meghan Vogel didn’t merely offer assistance to a needy person,

she did so when her assistance guaranteed her own failure.

Whether by disqualification or official timing, Vogel refused to profit from the misfortune of another.

But that doesn’t mean that she isn’t an opportunist.

Meghan Vogel saw misfortune as an opportunity for grace and mercy to triumph over ambition and self-preservation.

In those final 100 meters of selflessness, we all profited from her rare approach to opportunism.

By protecting McMath from humilitation, she guaranteed that a last place finish would hold a first place in our memories.

She took the opportunity to push us all towards a goal that is achievable,

But only when we take our mind off of fear and place it onto the welfare of others.

One young woman was about to finish dead last in a race that she had hoped to win.

Another was about to collapse in a race that she was trying to survive.

Because one of them was willing to finish last,

Nobody had to lose.


If only we’d all take such opportunities.

Nobody’s Fault But Mine?


Photo: Bleacherreport

I’m not a Blazer fan. I wasn’t raised in Oregon so while I root for a different team, I still pull for the Trailblazers for all but 10 games per season.

That said, I feel like it’s time for a neutral party to step in with a reality check for ex-Blazer Greg Oden.

Yesterday Oden made headlines by giving a “tell-all” interview about the 5 seasons that he spent in Portland.

While admitting to blowing his free-time on alcohol, drugs, and amateur cell phone photography, Oden also took the time to point out how difficult it was to be underage, rich, and overexposed.

Here are some of the informational gems gleaned from the interview:

“It’s almost like a cloud has been following Greg since high school. He even had bad luck… landing in the same draft class as Kevin Durant.”

“the real reason he injured his wrist… defending himself in a fight with his ‘hotheaded’ younger brother… [their] occasionally ugly sibling rivalry is similar to a lot of brothers’ relationships, but the fact that Greg was the best basketball player in the country only intensified things…

“Portland isn’t a great city to live in if you’re a young, African-American male with a lot of money,” Greg explained with an embarrassed grin… I didn’t have veteran teammates around to help me adapt to the NBA lifestyle.”

“…it wasn’t an NBA veteran who took Greg under his wing… it was his cousin from the Air Force … If you know anything about guys in the Air Force,” Greg explained, “it’s that they drink a ton. My cousin got wrapped up in the NBA lifestyle and threw parties at my house all the time…”

“”I wish it [nude pictures] wouldn’t have happened, “But I’m not going to apologize for it… I just got caught up with women throwing themselves at me. When a girl sends me 100 pictures, I have to send something back every now and then. I’m not an a__hole.”

For those paying attention, Greg Oden coming to Portland and spending 5 years “getting his zoot on” is actually:

Kevin Durant’s fault… for being really good,

His brother’s fault… for not being good enough,

The fan’s fault… for expecting too much,

Portland’s fault… for being a racist city,

The Blazer’s fault… for not providing chaperones,

The Air Force’s fault… for being a bunch of drunks,

and Women’s fault… for sending him all those nudie pics.

(more…)

Up In Smoke

Jamie Chung

In recent weeks, university officials and sportswriters have spent a lot of time arguing that college football doesn’t have a marijuana problem.

This isn’t to say that college athletes aren’t smoking pot and getting arrested for it, because ESPN published two articles this month detailing the widespread use of “grass” by collegiate athletes, it’s to say that nearly everyone involved in the process is attempting to point out that “smokin’ rope” isn’t actually a problem.

It’s presented as “not really a problem” because athletes are merely relieving the stress of national pressure in a way that supposedly doesn’t induce violence, impair judgement, or ┬áinhibit performance in the way that alcohol, a legal and widely abused campus substance, does.

ESPN’s report detailing the widespread use of marijuana on college campuses didn’t spend much time mentioning the University of Oregon in Eugene, because they prepared a second article for the purpose of highlighting a successful program with an apparently relaxed attitude towards the sweet leaf.

While completely stepping over the issues of substance trafficking and the violence that always follows the collection and distribution of black market goods, I’d like to point out that the problem here really isn’t the widespread use of cannabis by college students…

It’s what the pot smoking suggests about the individuals involved.

(more…)

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