At the library this morning I saw a man cheating while playing online Scrabble. Brow furrowed, he punched letters into some sort of hand-held anagram calculator then looked up and typed his ill-gotten word into the computer. About twelve hours later I watched Lance Armstrong and other Tour de France riders hammer up a mountain road on the Outdoor Life Network while I worked out at MVP.
I write this now because I find it striking how much differently different people choose to live their lives. One man battled back from a billion different types of cancer and trained his ass off to become the world’s greatest athlete in one particular event. You watch him ride and you can see the burning interior spirit and the unbridled confidence that goes along with knowing he’s outworked everyone as he shakes off challenger after challenger. And then… there’s the 35 year old man who’s spending a beautiful Friday morning cheating at a computer game.
Where exactly does this dichotomy occur? Did Scrabble-man miss out on one too many sunny days when he was a kid? When other kids were discovering they could climb trees was Scrabble-man out with a bad case of chicken pox?
Lately, I’ve been trying more and more to go the Lance Armstrong route, trying not to cheat myself out of a single moment of the day. At the pool last year we (Dan and I) slapped up a Lance poster in the filter house and have used this, often jokingly, as motivation whenever there is the urge to take it easy with our break time. “Would Lance stop after only 10 laps?” “No, hey, that’s okay, I’m sure Lance would sit at the picnic table instead of playing soccer.” And despite the light-hearted quips it really does work every time. Back into the pool, back onto the field. Suck from day all the the goodness you can get.