If by chance you are a sports fan, this past weekend was filled with athletes striving for true excellence.
For soccer fans, the Portugal 1-0 victory over France in the Euro final was a big deal. I didn’t get the chance to see it, but I have read that an unexpected hero emerged.
Saturday morning Nancy, along with her parents took Claudia, our 9 year old neighbor for her last day of the July golf camp. There were 7 kids in her group and many parents tagging along as they played 17 and 18 at the golf course from closer in tees.
I know each of the kids was nervous. For them having 12-15 people watching them was like being on television and being watched around the world. Our 9 year old pal was a champ. She hit her drives well, her 8 iron like she had been playing for years and chipped and putted well.
During the camp, we missed Serena win the Wimbledon Singles Championship. When we got home, Nancy had to go run an errand and Claudia and I spent the afternoon watching Serena and Venus win the Doubles Championship.
At 2:00 we started watching the USGA US Open Golf Tournament third round. Anna Nordqvist, Claudia’s favorite golfer, was back in the pack so she did not get much TV time. (I suspect that Claudia will forever keep the golf ball Anna gave her and the backpack with Anna’s autograph.)
Lydia Ko surged into the lead and the TV announcers commented how she just has fun on the course. Sure enough good shot, bad shot, Lydia Ko had a big wide grin on her face.
Later that day I found this Lydia Ko quote:
What a great attitude. She needed it because on Sunday she did not fare so well. Read: Steward: Lydia Ko takes collapse well. I urge you to read the article to get an insight into what kind of person, the 19 year old is. I found this:
Then again, the way Ko handled things in the wake of her failure was nothing short of amazing and admirable…She’s a great player, but her constitution is right in line with her considerable golf ability. It was on display all week at CordeValle.
On Sunday, after church and brunch with our daughter, Claudia came over to watch the final round of the US Open. That day Anna Nordqvist was on fire and played lights out. Claudia was cheering and turning cart wheels as Anna made up a 6 stroke deficit to tie with Brittany Lang, another favorite of ours, for the lead after 72 holes.
That started a three hole play-off. If you watched or saw the stories on the news, you know that on the second hole Anna accidentally touched the sand with her 5 iron and was given a 2 stroke penalty.
It was a little unfair the way she and Brittany found out about it. Anna was told after her third shot on 18 and Brittaney before her third shot. So, Brittany won the title.
Anna, with great class talked about the penalty afterwords.
When I got up on Monday, I found a link to this Inc article on Twitter: It Takes to Become Truly World Class in Your Field.
You should read the entire article. I found these two distinctions helpful.
First, it takes a commitment to the extraordinary, to go beyond the commonplace, which is so often lackluster and devoid of inspiration.
Second, it takes the realization that a commitment to the extraordinary is a personal commitment.
Based on this weekend, especially the US Open Golf Tournament, I would add this third point.
To become truly excellent, you must learn how to handle disappointments and defeat. No matter what your field, you can’t win them all.
And I think I might add a fourth.
True excellence means also becoming a role model for the next generation.