The moment arrives. At this moment both opportunity and duty collide. The bell tolls. Without having to ask, without hesitation or delay, you know its for you. You answer the call.
Its at this moment you have a destiny to fulfill. When Theodore Roosevelt said “The man in the arena… knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; he spends himself in a worthy cause” that’s exactly what he’s saying to me.
Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls opens with a John Donne poem of the same name. In it, he says:
any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind,
and therefore never send to know for whom the bells
tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Just as any death diminishes, every act of of kindness or greatness enhances us; both as individuals and as a community. In sport, we continually redefine ourselves with every honest, taxing effort given. As a MH-60 Black Hawk or F/A-18C Hornet Pilot like my cousin Mike Shaughnessy provides close air support in last week’s Pakistan theatre of operations they redefine what it means to be an American. I feel emboldened by their attainment of skill, sense of purpose and composure in answering an incredible call of duty.
As a token to the tenderest of debts, I hope in this small way today to honor those who have honored us all. By answering the call of duty, you have set a standard for us all to live up to. Bonne Chapeau.
“For whoever much is given, much is expected.”
After a short talk with Coach Peck and Coach Wolfman, 4x400m await the kids. Wait, what is that I hear ever so faintly in the distance?