A Love Letter to Simone

Well done, Simone. Well done.
We don’t own you, Simone. Nobody does.
We have showed you off like you are our prize pony, but you are nobody’s work horse.
You knew in your heart that this doesn’t define you.
That you are enough.
I cannot get over this display of greatness, dear girl of wonder.
I have secretly never truly loved the Olympics, and I say “never truly loved” because it’s a softer, less offensive way of saying I don’t like it. But there are many reasons for this, not the least of which is the general fact that I am personally not competitive and I always want all the people to get a ribbon for showing up, followed by ice cream afterward for the fact that they showed up at all.
(Peter and I fundamentally disagree on part of this. On the ice cream, we are in agreement. But that is because I have often been the one struggling to finish, while he has often been the one asked to surrender his prize for the ones who are trying so hard. It takes a toll on the winners, I suppose.)
George Bernard Shaw said, “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
Listen, Simone is no selfish little clod of anything. But she decided that *she would decide* when she is finished, not announcers and critics who cannot, could not, should never ever dare to do what she does so many times every day.
They watch for her errors, they watch for her mistakes. They who loved to watch her win now want to watch her stumble.
Augustine suggested that a well ordered-heart is to love “the right thing, to the right degree, in the right way, with the right kind of love.”
The effect of darkness in our lives is our disordered affections, our loving gold more than justice, loving money more than generosity, loving the spotlight more than the support team, loving the win more than our health… or someone else’s.
Augustine also wrote, “It seems to me that a brief but true definition of virtue is this: ‘It is well-ordered love.'”
I remember my psychology class in college where I learned about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We each have our most basic, primitive physiological needs, of food, water, warmth and rest.
We each have our needs for security and safety.
We have needs for belonging and love.
We have a need to feel accomplished.
And we have a need to achieve our full potential.
Somewhere on the hierarchy, there is an invisible line that says: Enough. My needs are met.
Simone found that invisible line, and she drew it in the sand. Enough. Finished.
She is the definition of daring greatly, of Theodore Roosevelt’s words made even more famous by Brene Brown:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Simone, you are a champion, and you will never, ever be among those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
You raised the bar by drawing the line.
Well done, Simone. Well done.
Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. Well said.

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