Getting Ahead: ‘Embarrassed by failure’


When I was a freshman in high school, I decided to go out for the track team. I thought that I would be good at track because I played basketball. I seemed to do fairly well in the cross country event, but I wanted to run the 100 yard dash and pole vault. I thought that would be more glamorous. There were older boys that pole vaulted so I was told that I would not be needed in that event. I did, however, make the grade for the 100 yard dash.

Our first track meet was coming up and in those days our school did not have a budget for track uniforms so we just wore whatever we had. I went to my mom and asked her to make me a track uniform. She agreed and she really outdid herself. I had white stripes down the sides of my green shorts, green stripes on my white knee socks and a green number on my white shirt. I was perfectly co-coordinated and had captured the look of a track star!

The day of our first meet arrived and I was absolutely the best dressed participant at the track meet. I walked around proudly for all to see as we waited for the 100 yard dash to be run. The time came and we lined up on the starting blocks: the gun sounded. A boy beside me with cutoff jeans, socks that fell around the tops of his dirty tennis shoes, and a soiled t-shirt leaped out ahead of the pack and beat the entire field by no less than 25 yards.

Bringing up the rear of the pack was the best dressed guy on the field.

Needless to say, after that first and only track meet that I participated in, I went back to practicing my foul shots for my sophomore year on the basketball team.

Everyone that accomplished anything in life has failed at something. The problem is that many of us who have had a bad experience will not try again. It is humiliating to have everyone looking at you when you fail but do we quit when that happens? Did my failure at track make me a failure in all athletics? Is there a way for us to be repaired and move on after failure? Is there something or someone that could give us another chance in life after we have failed for all to see?

These and other life questions will be addressed Sunday morning as “The Gathering Place Family” meets in the Washington High School Library for Bible Study at 9:30 and in the gymnasium at 10 a.m. for our Pre-Service Connection where we enjoy coffee, juice and donuts. Our Worship Service and Children’s Church then begins at 10:30. Come at 7 p.m. and be part of our Wednesday night Bible Study and Children’s Ministry on the third floor above Trends at 120 W. Court St. in Washington C.H.

By John G. Pfeifer

Religion Columnist

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