Lessons Learned From The Fastest Man In The World

fastest

“I am not the President. Instead, I hold an even higher office, that of citizen of the United States.” ~Martin Sheen

While deployed to Aludied Air Base, Qatar in 2002, Major League Baseball was threatening to go on strike. That was it for me. In Qatar, it got up to 140 degrees on some days. I shared a tent with six other men. I slept on a cot. I was in a war! I endured all of this for twenty-something thousand dollars a year. These guys played baseball for a living for millions of dollars a year and they wanted more money? (I assumed it was about money then. Even, now I’m still not sure what the deal was.) I gave up on professional sports that year. Eventually, I gave up on sports altogether.

So this year when the Olympics came not only did I not care, but I was kind of oblivious to it. Living in the Primitive Van, I don’t have a TV and I avoid the news as much as possible. Much like March Madness, I assumed the 2016 games would come and go with little to no affect on me. Little did I know, the two clips of the Olympics I would see would be so inspirational that I would have to write about it. Also, who knew that these two eye-opening moments would come from the same man.

The United States of America is great.

Despite the popularity of a current presidential candidate’s campaign slogan. I have to say that “America” (FYI, America is a continent, not a country.) is already great. There is no need to make it great again.

The first news I heard about the Olympics was through Facebook when someone posted this:

This was a touching moment The first thing I thought was this is why our country is so great. At a time where one of two idiots are forecast to become our president, when people are making a big deal about where a person shits, when people complain about the very generation of children they raised, we have a man from another country stop an interview, face the music, and quietly and respectfully observe our National Anthem. People made a big deal about an Army Reserve Officer who stopped in mid pole-vault to observes our National Anthem. I hate to break it to you, but it’s his job to do that. He was trained to do that. In fact, if he was seen not doing it by his superiors he could be reprimanded. Stopping and observing the USA’s National Anthem is required of that young officer but it was not required of Usain Bolt. So my question is, Why? Why would he do this? Why would he show so much respect to a country he was not a citizen of? Would you do that for his country? Would you even recognize the Jamaican National Anthem? I have no clue what it is. (I think its Flex by Mad Cobra. Not a 100% on that, though.)

I can only suspect that Usain Bolt has a desire to someday become a U.S. Citizen. This is a desire most of us can not imagine. Those of us who were born in this country will never know what it’s like to have that deep wanting of becoming a citizen. In fact, most of us never have the desire to become a citizen of any other country in the world. We may gripe and complain about the country we live in but we’ll never give up our citizenship. Usain Bolt is the pride of his country. He has fame and fortune. Why would he want to come to ours?

My grandfather became a US citizen around the age of 70? Why bother? One would assume that all Mexicans want to be US Citizens (this is incorrect by the way) but he was already retired and collecting social security. What benefit would it have been to him? Pride and self-respect, I suppose. That man was born a Mexican but he died an “American.” It’s common to think poor destitute people are the ones that want to become naturalized. That may be true but there are plenty of rich and well-established people who become citizens. Charlize Theron, Craig Ferguson, Liam Neeson, Jim Carey, Michael J Fox, and Alanis Morissette are just a few. Why would they want to become US Citizens if they were already rich and famous? Because there is just something about being able to call yourself American.

I can’t pinpoint why our country is so great. I can’t say it’s because of our GDP, because of our low poverty levels, or because of some other statistic no one really cares about. All I can say is the fact that citizens of other countries not only know our national anthem but stand for it is proof enough for me that it is great.

Be Humble

“I have dedicated my life to the 200m, I really love the 200m a lot.” ~Usain Bolt

Because of a check engine light, I had to be in Colorado Springs and stayed with a friend of mine. That was the only time I watched any of the Olympics live on TV. That’s when I saw this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7aC8uEIt2o (Sorry you have to go to youtube to watch it.)

When Usain Bolt won the gold medal for the 200-meter race he did not act like someone who just took Olympic gold. He was disappointed. The man just won his third consecutive Olympic gold medal in the 200m and he was not real excited about it. Why? He wanted to have a better run time. I didn’t think much of it until the next week when I listened to Ryan Holiday’s newest book, The Ego Is The Enemy. In his book, Ryan implies that ego has lead to many a men to their downfall. He gave many excellent and interesting examples of this. There are quite a few takeaways from this book. The one that stood out the most was that the ego is what has you comparing yourself to others. Comparing yourself to other will lead to your demise. Whether it’s your arrogance because you see you are better than others at something or self-loathing because you are not as good as them. Nothing good comes from comparing yourself to others.

Where does the good come from? Comparing yourself to the you you want to be. At that very moment, when he crossed the finish line, Usain Bolt proved that he was the faster than any man in the world in the 200m and it didn’t matter to him one bit. You could see the disappointment on his face as he crosses the finish line. Usain Bolt can run the 200m faster than any man in the world except one, Usain Bolt. It didn’t matter who he beat or that he won the gold, he could have done it better. This is a man who is not letting ego control his life. That’s why he is so great.


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