Friday Angst: the real reasons to live

One of the real-life events that inspired THE HERO:

June 2, 1996 Sunday 6:40 pm

[Age 15, at the regional karate tournament]

One little girl (we’ll call her Sara) was sparring another little girl (we’ll call her Meg). Sara beat Meg and won first place. As soon as she received her silver medal, Meg went to her mother in tears. The mother stared into her child’s face and opened her beet-red lips with the biting words, “Don’t you cry over that little girl.”

Everyone looked up, but she continued, louder for the Sara to hear, “You beat that little girl into pieces! You should have won, not her. That little girl did not win. Don’t you cry over that little girl!”

By now, the “little girl” looked about ready to cry. I felt like crying, too, and lashing out at that woman. How dare she do that! When someone else wins, they are to be congratulated. Especially if they are a little child. A child who is proud of herself for winning a stupid contest. What lowlife scum of a person would be so cruel as to publicly demean a child?

And Meg will end up just like her mother because she will never learn to lose. Every time she loses, her parents will tell her she should have won, and that she is right and everyone else is wrong, until the girl will do it herself. She’ll grow up blaming everyone else for her problems.

That is one of the major drawbacks in sports. Or anything in life. To let it become important for the wrong reasons. That family only cares about medals. A piece of colored medal on a string. Not the fact that Meg competed even though she was nervous, or that she is learning how to compete, or learning about how other people compete.

One of the main reasons I go to tournaments is to learn about people like this. That they are involved in everything I will ever participate in.

When pictures were taken of the first-, second-, and third-place winners, Sara’s parents were worried that Meg’s mother would push their “little girl” off the first-place step and help her own darling child up instead.

This, too, was wrong. No one should ever be afraid of people like this. We should pity these people for missing out on the real reasons to live.

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