A number of years ago, a great Olympian faced his final challenge in attempting to reach the Olympics. While three times he had participated in the games, the stresses of the trials never subside. It is only with the right combination of luck, training, and talent that one might have the great honor of representing their country every four years. These elite athletes spend years training for what ends up being a competition that lasts for only a brief moment in time.
With relative ease, he had managed to be the national leader in the sport of sailing, sometimes beating hundreds of competitors at a time. But after many years of success, challenges came his way. He was no longer ranked the best, and while highly revered, his magic seemed to be fading. There was no doubt his skills remained masterful, but he was no longer in his twenties, when men are at their greatest strength.
It all came down to the final day of competition, which would determine who would go to the Olympics, and, even then, he did not need to win against all his competitors. All he had to do was place better than his main rival, which was not such a challenging task. But, as the fates would have it, the final race was cancelled due to a deep fog blanketing the area, and the results stood where they were. This fabulous competitor lost, and his career came to an end.
When one had given such fealty to the sport they loved, we could imagine a range of emotions from such a great loss; perhaps feeling bitter, brokenhearted, or crestfallen would be common for most. But this man took a different course. He quickly packed up his boat, got in his car, and drove thousands of miles to surprise and court the woman he loved. He closed this book of his life quite deliberately, only to start a new one by creating a wonderful family and profession. All his energy turned to the ones he loved.
He never competed again, but he found much greater rewards.