Winning, the focus of their upward journey, is near, so near. And those who conquer all earn the world’s admiration for a glorious moment in time. But it is well-earned admiration that moves along to the next contest. Fame is fleeting; family and friends remain.
And as life’s demands engulf us, there remains a deep comfort for loving family relationships and valued friendships. Such nurturing relationships keep us grounded for the journey toward our greatest legacy.
As I shared at a recent event, I would be embarrassed if the best thing in my life occurred at 24 years of age, on an Olympic stage in Anaheim, California. My proudest memories are not accomplishments on a mat, but rather enduring friendship with my brothers, friends and mentors in life—and family memories made together.
More than three decades ago I was blessed to meet my wife, Kim, who sensed some core goodness in me as a man. She chose me to share her life journey with her, and I will be forever grateful for this beautiful gift. We have a good life together.
Kim understood sports had developed my character, while my parents, brothers and mentors had honed my citizenship. She, in turn, built a life together for us balanced around love, family, recreation and work. Kim’s parents provide us with a wonderful model of how to value our priorities.
As we age, we reflect more on what truly matters in life. Family and friends are very important. Our history, our heritage, and our fellowship all create beauty and meaning and fulfillment. Indeed, without family and friends, everything else in life may just be a trivial pursuit.