He had an idea that even when beaten he could steal a little victory by laughing at defeat.
~ John Steinbeck
East of Eden
I looked up at the scoreboard on the wall in front of me and watched the time click down... 3... 2...1.
As the jubilant wrestler climbed off my back, I remained on my stomach, prone on the mat stunned as tears welled up in my eyes.
The match was over... I lost by the score of 5-4 in overtime... my quest to become a champion had come to an abrupt halt in a rather unceremonious fashion.
Now by all accounts, I should have won. I was indeed ahead by one point with only 17 seconds to go in the match.
A fake to the left and a dive to the right by my opponent caught me in an off-balance position. I was dead tired after 3 rounds plus overtime but I mustered all of the energy I had left to defend myself however the will of the other wrestler won out in the end.
For many years afterwards, I often replayed those very moments over and over... could I have hung on for just a few more seconds... summoning additional energy from a void within to fight just a fraction harder...
Two great wills pitted against each other in battle... with only a victor and a loser in the end.
Rarely do I reflect on my wins... but more often, my loses, as the sting of the pain, remorse, and regret drives me to avoid these losses in the future.
In thoroughbred racing, horses run the course of approximately three-quarters to one and one-half of a mile. At the end of the race a winner is determined... sometimes within only an inch separating the winner from the second-place horse.
The winner is awarded 60% of the purse whereas the second-place horse earns only 20% of the purse.
The winner earns 3 times as much as the second place finisher. Does this mean that the winner is 3 times better than the second place finisher?
Typically the difference between a winner and the second-place finisher might be 2 feet... a head... or a nose.
The difference between winning and losing is a few seconds... a few inches... or a few votes.
This last week the citizens of the United States elected a new President after a hard-fought battle over the course of many months between two candidates of the major political parties.
In the end there could only be one victor...
Despite early concerns, the election was a true demonstration of fair democracy in action with almost no known abnormalities in the election process itself.
The vote was fair and honest.
Mr. Trump was elected by the people... in accordance to the laws governing the United States... to become America’s 44th President.
Now truth be told, he wasn’t my choice. I voted for a candidate who lost.
Despite my personal feelings toward Donald Trump, he will become my President come January.
In all, over 126 million votes were cast by American citizens.
The vote was close with Mr. Trump winning the all-important Electoral College vote while Mrs. Clinton won the popular vote by a slight margin (which is good for posterity but doesn’t really mean much else).
If nothing else, I have the utmost respect the office of the Presidency as well as the democratic process in which he was elected.
When the dust settled, many people I know and respect were angry and upset that their candidate lost... while still other friends of mine rejoiced at the outcome as their candidate won.
I am neither happy nor sad about the outcome... but rather curious and, truthfully, a bit anxious about what lies ahead.
This year’s election was one for the ages with conventional wisdom thrown to the wind... where the unexpected became the norm and the unconventional persuaded millions of American who cast their vote for change in the status quo.
I am cautiously excited about the prospects of a stalled government ready to get back on the road again.
For the past 6 years, gridlock in Washington has failed to address many of the problems plaguing our great society... even our Supreme Court was in a deadlock position for the past year.
There are no more excuses as to why Congress can no longer pass laws or fill judicial vacancies.
The government will now be lead by a single political party (at least until the mid-term elections) and I am awaiting interesting things to come over the next couple of years.
No longer are there any roadblocks to governance in Washington.
It’s the Republicans’ turn to lead this great nation... now is a time to heal.
I fully expect laws to be repealed and or created that will boil my blood... policies that will cause this great nation to question its fundamental principles of justice, tolerance, and fairness... doctrine that I feel will possible endanger the lives and livelihood of Americans...
...but I’ve been proven wrong in the past.
In 1980, I was of the belief that Ronald Reagan would also bring ruination to our country... only to be amazed as to the great prosperity that his presidency brought to America after a decade of decline.
I pray that I am once again amazed with unexpected actions and astounded with a better America.
Donald Trump was elected with the promises of change... and I do believe that change is coming to America... but then again... if Hillary (or any other candidate) was elected, there too would be a great deal of change ahead.
Change is inevitable...
The world will continue to change in ways we can hardly imagine... regardless of the resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave... No. 10 Downing St... .or the Kremlin...
Yet while change will press on... there are those secretly hoping that change will be halted or at least impeded.
These are the people who yearn for the years of yesterday rather than tomorrow... an impossibility that will only cause more angst and dissatisfaction.
In four (or maybe 2) these are the same people who will once again become disenchanted that things have not returned to their past... and they will once again clamor for change.
I do despise losing... with the very fabric of my soul... but I also know that tomorrow will begin a new day bringing with it, opportunity, hope and change.
Losing helps me to savor the sweetness in my victories while remembering to humbly to offer condolences to the losers...
Congratulations Mr. President (elect) on a job well done. As the leader of the free world, we’re expecting a lot of big things from you... please don’t let us down...
...we’re all watching.
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