Most Extraordinary People on Earth

Recently, the world championships in a variety of sports have occurred. I was able to watch the Track events and the world Swimming events on YouTube. The world’s finest athletes competed in these. And my admiration for their accomplishments as athletes and as extraordinary human beings was immense.

To qualify to compete for ‘the best in the world’ is a rare and amazing accomplishment. It takes a maturity that most people never know. It requires a strict adherence to a rigid and exhausting daily schedule. Enduring endless pain is a requirement: the pain of pushing your body beyond its limits, and the pain endured afterwards. A fierce mental attitude is a basic tenet. Their strong bodies produce strong minds. Almost all of them are college graduates. To reach this supreme level necessitates intelligence. Every minute of their lives is scheduled for producing peak performance. This demands sacrifice. Certainly, they have less time for friends, family, homes, jobs, and dreams… They deserve our adulation and praise.  Indeed, these are people who deserve medals and to stand on pedestals.

The glory and admiration they deserve is not just for their athletic prowess; but also for their dedication to building the astonishing personal character necessary for attaining the heights of worldwide competition. Most of the these amazing human beings use the fame and any fortune they receive not to embellish themselves with comfort, as much as they use it to affect positive change, and to improve and elevate the lives of others, particularly the poor and less privileged, often in the communities in which they lived and endured privation too.

Of course, I cheer for my fellow Americans. But I am very proud of every athlete who competes. Their accomplishments bring tears to my eyes as I laugh with joy for them!

Mark Baird

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