My column editor said I should tread cautiously as I contemplated writing about my youngest daughter.
Having explained the overarching point I wanted to make by using her experience as an example, I was certain to have convinced him of the efficacy of my efforts.
“There’s a fine line that if crossed just looks like parental bragging,” he said.
So I demurred for a week or two and thought about my dilemma. I hate it when he’s right and stops me cold but I clearly got the point. If I were to write about my daughter’s sports accomplishments, it might come off as boorish.
Every writer needs an editor – or two – even when they don’t want one, which is much of the time.
Why would they?
After all, editors are paid to find mistakes, correct grammar, and occasionally laugh in derision at a piece the writer believes painted word pictures in translucent, multicolored hues.
Sometimes, they forgo the laughter.
Or, they might ask, “Exactly what were you trying to do here?”
Oh. Just type for fun, you might reply.
You need an editor, though. Well, you need a good one and mine and I have worked together for more than 43 years.
I listen to him.
My conclusion was to make my point early and try to make it clear.
This is a column about risk, about chasing dreams, and not listening to the words of doubters when your heart sings to follow your star.
Meredith, my 16- year old, stood atop a podium at Copper Mountain, Colorado, three weeks ago as someone draped a gold medal around her neck, a winner in a snowboard competition.
Colorado is a tough place to either ski or snowboard competitively. When Meredith contemplated moving there from the east coast to train and compete she was told she would soon learn the difference between big fish, little fish and the size of the pond.
Undeterred at the prospect of flopping in the West, she started in the fall at a new high school as a sophomore and in a new training program with new coaches. She said we wanted to move to a program where she could be pushed harder.
In a short span – two years – since she started snowboarding she has suffered concussions and a fractured wrist that required pins to help in the healing. She scoffs at this injury list. She knows competitors who have had multiple knee surgeries and even a couple who returned to competition after breaking their backs.
In her first event in the West, she won gold for the first time and last week she won a silver. Like many sports stories I see it as metaphor.
Don’t let the naysayers win. Don’t fear looking foolish when you decide to take the big risk. Get out of your comfort zone if you want to grow and improve and be challenged.
Perhaps one of other things I see here is that Meredith’s goal was not really the gold medal. Her mission was just to improve and to work her hardest to become the best she can be at a sport she loves and that is her passion.
When training in the fall and becoming acclimated to the altitude, she described running up a hill as “like having a person on your back.” It was all new and hard and certainly at times of difficulty she had doubts, but she persevered.
Too stubborn to quit, probably.
Yeah. It’s probably bragging but for me telling the story reminds me personally that it’s never wrong to pursue what you love and to pursue it with wild abandon.
Richard Connor is president and publisher of the Fort Worth Business Press. Contact him at email@example.com