Sports and Journeys and Finish Lines

My dad used to always say, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”

He usually said this while watching some sporting event, often frustrated at our hometown favorites (the Chiefs or the Royals) when they got down a couple touchdowns in the first half or gave up a run in the first inning. Sometimes, he would even say this when one of his favorite teams started strong, but he hoped they wouldn’t get too arrogant and blow their lead at the last second.

Even though he liked the apply this phrase to sports, it can easily apply to any part of life.

I’ve learned a lot about tenacity and sticking with the things I’ve started, especially this week.

I’m in a class where I didn’t do so well on the first test, and I considered dropping the class. After talking to my advisor and realizing the implications of what would happen if I dropped it, I decided it would be better to stick it out and try to do better as the semester goes on. My advisor offered that I go to my professor’s office hours and ask how he would suggest studying for the tests. I realized I still had a chance to be successful as long as I stepped up to the plate and gave the class more effort.

I also struggled this week as President of an organization on campus. There is an executive board, and some of the officers aren’t working as hard as they should. While a part of me wants to stop trying to pull teeth just to get these officers to do their part, another part of me is more patient. Everyone deserves their fair chance to succeed, and sometimes we get derailed. Sometimes we need someone to cut us a break and support us after we fall and need to get back up again. I know what it’s like to be derailed, and only patience can guide us to help others in their path to success. While sometimes we start strong, there is still a journey to the finish line, and every journey has its bumps in the road.

In some situations, we start out strong, but struggle to keep that strength throughout the entire game. In other instances, we don’t start strong, but we work our way up and finish successfully. In either case, we must be patient and take it one step at a time.

“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”

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