By Steve Goodier
One man began a speech to his fellow college alumni with the
statement, "Some of you are successes, and some of you are failures --
only God knows which are which!" There are many kinds
of successes, many kinds of winners; and which is which may not at
first be apparent.
Esther Kim is a true champion with a heartwarming story. She competed
against her childhood friend, Kay Poe, in the U.S. Olympic Trials for
her sport -- Taekwondo. Esther lost the match, but she went on to win
all her other fights, which still qualified her for the finals.
Her friend, Kay, also won her successive matches. But in her last
fight before the finals, disaster struck. Kay dislocated her knee and
went down in great pain. Her knee was reset as she lay in
agony on the mat. All the while, her friend Esther encouraged her from
the sidelines to finish the fight. Courageously, Kay finally stood up
and, on one good leg, concluded the match for a win.
The only contestants now remaining were Kay Poe, with an injured leg,
and her friend, Esther Kim. One woman would be chosen from these
trials for the Olympic team. "I looked at her with one good leg
against me with two good legs," Esther Kim recalled, "and I said,
'It's not fair!'"
On the spot, Esther made a hard decision. She forfeited the match to
her friend Kay, whose leg was sure to be fully healed for the 2000
Olympic Games. For her part, Kay bought Esther a ticket to Sydney,
Australia, so she might watch and cheer from the stands.
"This was our dream, going to the Olympics," Esther said. "It's so
hard! I have cried about it." But Esther discovered something
important. "I gave her my dream," she said, "but for the first
time ever, I feel like a champ." Esther Kim won a victory far greater
than one fought on the mats. She won a victory of the spirit, which
qualifies her as a true champion.
As Kay Poe's father remarked, "The champions aren't always the ones
who have all the medals." No, sometimes they are cheering from the
sidelines. For success and winning is often about victories won in the
hidden recesses of the heart. And any of us who will fight and win
such a victory will know the meaning of the word "success."
Steve Goodier's books & newsletter: