It was a sultry Saturday, July 2002. Hundreds of onlookers
gazed at the participants in the annual track and field
event in Durham, North Carolina.
Parents, friends, and spectators sat under colossal
umbrellas shielding from the blazing sun, while restlessly
shifting on the rigid and uncomfortable aluminum bleachers
that surrounded the stadium.
At nine years old, she came running full speed and straight
ahead, leaving everyone else behind while completing her
440-yard race. With arms outstretched, she crossed the
finish line and victoriously walked off the track exhausted
– and a conqueror. Truly, she was the winner because
everyone else in the race was — what seemed like miles
Listening for the cheers of family and friends, she heard
none. There were no victory cheers, no clapping, and no
smiles. Instead, her supporters were yelling and motioning
for her to keep going, because she had not won the race. Her
race was not complete, because she stopped too soon! She
stopped 12 feet before the official finish line!
Onlookers were stunned. Supporters’ heads dropped and then
emotions flared as outcries of disgust and blame rang
throughout the stadium toward the event timers. “You’re
standing at the wrong line,” someone yelled at the event
timer. “You misled her into thinking that you were at the
finish line,” someone else shouted.
What had really happened? And, who was really to blame?
The true winner — or so she thought — did not complete her
race. The true winner was in fact, not the winner at all.
Perhaps misguided by the event timers standing 12 feet
before the finish line, she stopped, thinking that she had
won. In her mind, she was the winner — but according to the
rules, she was not.
Trailing her, another runner crossed the official finish
line and won the race. Why, because evidently, she knew what
the goal was and was not going to stop until she reached it.
She did not allow distractions to stop her. She did not
allow anyone to mislead her. She was not going to stop until
she was indeed the WINNER!
What goals must you reach to be declared the winner in your
life? What distractions must you ignore or get rid of to
reach your goals?
Whatever your goals are, it is up to you, and no one else to
reach them. Whatever the distractions are, it is up to you
to honestly and wisely deal with or do away with them.
If you want to live a purposeful and fulfilling life, then
wisely and wholeheartedly do what you must — but don’t stop
until you reach them. Don’t stop now!
by Audrina Jones Bunton