Friday, February 28, 2014

Unremarkably Remarkable

I found Latvia.
My Dad loved to talk and tell stories. He also repeated stories and thus I recall the story of the strongest man he ever met. Apparently this man could lie horizontally between two chairs while more and more men sat on his rigid stomach. According to Dad, this man barely strained. He also could apparently tolerate repeated punches to his mid-section without flinching. And until one single night my Dad and his friends somehow convinced him to participate in a spontaneous little strongman competition, he had no idea this man, someone he had known for years, could do any of these amazing feats. Full disclosure: my Dad tended to exaggerate and I’m fairly certain whiskey factored into all this and thus the truth may be somewhat skewed. Nevertheless, I do remember three details my Dad emphasized every time he told this story:

1.      He was small.
2.      He was quiet.
3.      He wasn’t a show-off.

With my Dad, I met this unremarkably remarkable man several times over the years and although I never witnessed any strength-tests first hand, he certainly confirmed all three. Whether his intent or not, I learned much from my Dad’s story: real strength is often quite humble and hidden.

My favourite Winter Olympics moment this year happened when I wasn’t even watching, during a game likely only true fans saw in its entirety. But for me the sport wasn’t important to the outcome. In fact, the outcome was a loss. No medal. And for a country I couldn’t even pick out on a map: Latvia. But unremarkably remarkable hockey goalie Kristers Gudlevskis, who apparently makes $55,000 yearly, managed to block over 50 goals despite facing well-known, talented, million dollar professional hockey players admired by millions of fans.


I wonder how many people had actually even heard of Gudlevskis? But that’s not the point. If we’d just pay attention, the answer is lots.

Humble, strong men and women out there? Despite those distracting show-offs getting too much attention, people DO notice you too. Thank you. Thanks for all your quiet strength needed in so many unremarkably remarkable ways people rarely see because instead of being Olympians your strength wows in ambulances, classrooms, or as peacekeepers or scientists building robots that perform brain surgery and especially you volunteers. No gold/silver/bronze for you but that shouldn’t devalue your inspirational, every-day, behind-the-scenes heroics.


Laoch of Chicago said...

Good post.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

That's very true, isn't it? The blowhards and the show-offs are often all sizzle and no steak, as they say. And that was a great game, by the way. Put the fear of god into Canada. LATVIA, for chrissakes.

Damon said...

i like your post and your blog, is so interesting!
+ Follow

Pickleope Von Pickleope said...

Whoa! $55K yearly!?! What's that like? I mean, I guess Olympic athletes should be compensated like celebrities. Must be nice. (I'm poor.)
Also, I was hoping that story from your father ended with, "and that man was Harry Houdini".

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