Athletics: Facing the fire

Published October 29th, 2018 by Lauren Burroughs

2018 Bronze Medalist. Isn’t it crazy how you can be 364 days smarter, stronger and wiser than last year yet still leave with a lesser medal? Or even crazier — without a trophy at all? Sports can be twisted like that, especially when a fraction of a second can change a result. You may be the best competitor in the world on some days, just not the right days.

But there’s a reason you keep going back for more. There’s a reason athletes put it all on the line. Hoping and working toward the realization of a dream is addicting. The beauty in chasing something great is always worth more than the pain of not achieving it. A medal sits in your trophy case. It doesn’t walk. It doesn’t talk. It doesn’t keep you company or pat you on the back. Yes, it feels great to achieve it. Our family always dedicates time to celebrating after a big win. It’s extremely important to enjoy success and celebrate life. Because that fleeting emotional high is soon replaced by, “What’s next?” It’s about, “What have you done lately?” Gold gets old, but the chase is always fresh. The pursuit can always be renewed.

Jordan Burroughs and I love to talk. We spend hours wrapped up in conversations about life. I, without a doubt, believe I’m married to one of the wisest men in all of sports. His performances will almost always be measured by a medal. But his personal growth? We don’t see that on a podium. I’ve sat with him in silence and tears during the dark moments after a devastating loss, and years later, we spent the time after a similar loss in silence that was then followed by laughter and reflection. That’s growth, and it’s what you should be measuring your days by.

God’s act of refining us can be a tough pill to swallow. We want the best version of ourselves, but we resist the route that will take us there. That’s just life. The reality of it doesn’t make it any easier. But hopefully the image of who you’re becoming is something you can cling to on your climb.