Hi! And how are you all? I, like the whole nation, have also been caught up with World Cup fever, the past few weeks. England, the team I support has been doing okay, but objectively, I must say that the form they are showing currently is far short of that of World champions. In the process of watching the many games, I too have been very emotionally involved i.e. disapproving the form of players, angry with referee’s decisions, upset with some of the antics of players etc. This was very apparent during the Portugal/Holland and Australia/Italy game. I was quite annoyed at the referee in the Portugal/Holland game as he in a sense ‘spoilt’ it as a sporting spectacle. I also felt very sorry for Australia as I felt that Italy did not deserve the penalty at the last minute of extra time. Imagine the emotions in Australia!! However, I must say that these matches are in a sense like the journey of life. It is never ‘fair’. Sometimes the best team does not win. Sometimes the lesser team wins because of circumstances. But I assure you, that a good team will always in the long run have better results. Brazil may lose some matches because of bad refereeing, luck etc, but in the long term, they will always have a better playing record because they are the ‘better’ team. Life is never fair, but if you are good at what you do and have a positive attitude, the chances are in the long run, you will always have a better career as compared to those who only rely on luck and circumstances.
John Stephen Akhwari
And since we are on the World Cup, I have chosen the theme of this newsletter to be on athletes. On October 20, 1968, at the Mexico City Olympics at 7.00 pm, a young man by the name of John Stephen Akhwari from Tanzania, covered with blood, hobbled into the stadium. He was running in the marathon and early on in the race had taken a horrible fall, injured his head and damaged his knee. And there he was, over 40 kilometers later, stumbling his way to the finish line. The response of the crowd was overwhelming. They encouraged Akhwari through the last few meters of his race with a standing ovation that far exceeded the one given to the individual who had won the marathon earlier.
The next day, Akhwari appeared before sports journalists for an interview. The first question asked was, "Why, in spite of the injuries suffered, did you proceed to the finish line, when there was no way you could possibly win the race?" John Stephen Akhwari simply answered: "My country did not send me over 11,000 kilometers to start a race. They sent me over 11,000 kilometers to finish one."
There is much we can learn from his simple but very profound answer. In life it is not enough to know where the finish line is; you have to also be prepared to go through the many obstacles, disappointments and failures you encounter on your way to it. This process may not be pleasant, but with commitment and determination to "finish the race," we can do far more than we might have believed. John Akhwari did not win the marathon, but he definitely is a winner in real life!! Many people do not achieve success in life because they take the easy way out by blaming it on the ‘injuries’ and ‘obstacles’ they encounter along the way. No matter what happens in your own personal marathon, which is your life's journey, always keep your hopes alive! Forget about the pain and the obstacles. Think of finishing the race successfully!
Remember Winston Churchill's famous five-word speech? -- "Never, never, never give up!"
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I do hope I have inspired you in some small way to make changes in your personal life so that you will be able to finish life’s race successfully. Until my next newsletter, may god bless each and every one of you. Take care.