Olympic Champions – Rotary Champions by Frank Deaver

Posted By rotary

World attention has been focused recently on the Olympic Games, with television ratings revealing the staggering size of the audience. The games remind us that, in contrast to the violence of war, we were witnessing pursuit of excellence, pride of accomplishment, and dignity in defeat. Indeed, the games demonstrated to the world – and Rotarians may especially take note – that the human spirit can, should, and sometimes does, rise above the conflict so prevalent in our world today.

Competition is between adversaries. War is between enemies. The difference is critically important. The Olympics brought together representatives of the world’s nations, sometimes teams from countries in real or threatened warfare with each other. But the athletes met not in angry conflict but in respectful competition and shared determination to achieve. All emerged with dignity and ongoing determination. These are lessons for nations. These are lessons for Rotarians.

Rotary clubs compete with each other in areas such as membership growth, attendance records, and Foundation giving. But we cooperate as a team in addressing the humanitarian and educational goals set for us by RI President Sakuji Tanaka.

Like the Olympic athletes, we will reach many of our goals. In some areas we may fall short, at least in the short run. But from the Olympic athletes and their examples, we can observe some valuable principles:

• True friendship is in maintaining mutual respect even during intense competition.

• True accomplishment is not winning every battle, but continuing the pursuit of success even after a setback

• True excellence is not being better than everyone else, but being better than our former selves. 



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