Wednesday, June 22, 2016
On my way back from my work lunch break today, I sat in my car, sobbing uncontrollably.
I tried easing my emotions as much as I could before heading back to my desk. (I was really a mess). Once I thought I had done so, I proceeded inside, but left my sunglasses on to remain as covert as possible until I finally reached my personal sanctuary. However, upon immediate removal of my shades, a colleague asked me what was wrong while simultaneously coming in for a hug. Without missing a beat, she closed the door behind us and insisted I explain everything. She didn't make me feel weak, or tell me to stop. Instead, in the privacy of that little office, allowed me to let it all out. (That doesn't usually happen in corporate. And I didn't even know her that well yet!)
Have you ever felt as though you're not in the right place? I asked.
I mentioned being from Cleveland, talked about the Cav's parade I was missing out on, the husband who would have gone with me to the event, but whom is now gone; I pondered aloud what I was still doing in the comeback city, not my own. I also wondered why, at a time in my life when I have so many friends, I felt as though I had so few. I thought for sure my co-worker would think much of my venting was silly, but again, only support from this special gal, who gave me a tissue while telling me that she, too, has shared similar thoughts.
Oh my gosh, you're homesick! she exclaimed. I nodded, knowing she was probably right.
What finally started bringing me out of my rather unusual state of mind, besides being able to talk through my feelings at the moment, were thoughts of Lebron James and his tireless efforts in the game of basketball which he shaped into a remarkably successful career. What he said after winning his most prized championship title to-date stuck with me: "In Northeast Ohio nothing is given, everything is earned. You work for what you have...I don't know why the Man above gives me the hardest road, but [He] doesn't put you in situations you can't handle."
I recognize the Northeast Ohio heart, drive and work ethic in myself. It's exactly why I was there at work today (and not the parade I so wanted to attend with "everyone else"). Today I made both big and small gains in my new role at the office, helping my company through its transitional growth period. I know that one day (hopefully soon) the right time will come for me, too, just at it did for James. Maybe I'll announce "I'm coming home", or maybe I will stay put, or perhaps venture elsewhere. Time will tell.
This wasn't meant to be my parade today. It was LeBron's. It was Cleveland's. Sure, I owned a piece of it, just like any other Cleveland native, but my own personal celebration is yet to come. Mine may not yield one million people (or will it?), though I'll be sure to stop by a local party store to pick up some confetti regardless.
Making an impression
hold out your hand as long as you want,
for a taker.
Warm as sunlight, cold as ice,
for a taker.
you can let go, stop waiting.
Bring back your fist,
The wait is over.
More can be done
with two hands than one.
By definition, the word champion can be defined in two ways:
(1) a person who has defeated or surpassed all rivals in a competition
(2) a person who fights or argues for a cause, or on behalf of someone else
Interestingly, in the first definition, one person is out to win for himself (and plays against the opposition). In the latter definition, there's a selfless component since someone essentially backs a cause for another person entirely (even though the main subject may not directly benefit by doing so).
One could say the Cleveland Cavaliers' had both types of champion in Lebron James during the season of 2015-16:
He was a (1) champion in that he won Most Valuable Player and helped his team win an NBA title while beating out all other NBA teams, including the regular season's record-breaking Golden State Warriors.
He was also a (2) champion of Cleveland's "curse reversal", bringing a sports trophy back to Northeast Ohio after a 52-year drought.
We often view champions as more the self-serving, opportunistic type. However, there are also those altruistic champions who essentially win trophies only to give them away to others. Both play an important role in society as a whole, but it's good to remember you have options when facing a competitive or team-based task. In any relationship (interpersonal, romantic, professional, etc.) you may desire to be the champion of an overall idea, discussion or argument, but do keep in mind that your teammates may simply be looking for someone to champion their strategies, opinions, or feelings in a given situation.
The key to becoming a champion-crusader and always playing a classy, winning role is to remain a good sport, no matter your level of championship. Because, at the end of the day, everyone wants the experience of a game well-played.
Yann Pendaries is a French professional photographer who specializes in whimsical portraits, products, landscapes, and reportages. His featured art print, "Le moulineur de confettis" translates to "The confetti maker". Many of his prints are sold on Etsy.
You can visit Yann on Facebook and also Twitter.