Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why I love Lolo - Tia

I ran track for like...a semester. Running while not being chased used to not be my thing. (That has since changed, but never mind that.) I just didn't like running. I also didn't like losing. And no mater how many practices I went to I always came in third behind Sharon and Shondra. (Yes, 20+ years later I still remember their names.) It was infuriating to never be the best. I'm competitive by nature. I like to win. Who doesn't? So imagine my fragile junior high ego always having to deal with the never being number one. You know how I dealt with it....I quit.

Even though I was only a child then, I'm embarrassed to say that there have been times as an adult that I've taken on that same, "If I can't win, then I won't play" attitude about things I can't be perfect or great at in life. I think it's human nature to want to succeed. And failure hurts. Our innermost parts want to get away from the thing that's causing us the pain. And for a lot of us, when we don't win not only do we not play, but we have a foul attitude about it.

Enter: Lolo Jones

For the last 4 years she's been the golden girl of track and field. Blessed with extreme talent and an inspirational back story, it made all of the sense in the world for her to be the "face" of Olympic running. It didn't hurt that she's gorgeous. (Aside: my brother and I had the following text conversation the other day:
B - I want to marry Lolo Jones.
Me - I'm with it. She's cute AND she love Jesus.
B - I KNOW! That's like the winningest combination EVER!
Me - Yes...yes it is! LOL!)

But after failing to medal at two consecutive Olympics, the haters, as they're prone to do, decided to hate.

"Why does she get some much attention?"

"She's not even that good."

"I think that, on the podium tonight, the three girls that earned their spot and they got their medals and they worked hard and did what they need to do, prevailed." (This was a direct quote from one of Lolo's teammates. I was unaware that the official drink of Olympic medalists was Haterade. Good to know.)

I was simply amazed at the negativity. I'd be more inclined to understand it (not really) if Lolo spent all day, every day talking about how she's the greatest sprinter of all time. If she had an air of arrogance about her, the criticism, while still unnecessary would seem less...vicious.

But in every interview I saw or read, one thing remained consistent with Lolo Jones: Humility. Never once did I get the impression that she was anything short of grateful and honored to be where she is in life. And in the midst of her own victory, she still took the time to show compassion to a fellow fallen runner.
Read the story behind the picture here

To me, that speaks volumes of her character and sportsmanship, perhaps more so than her performances at the meets. 

Lolo Jones opened herself up and bared her soul on and off the track. Her willingness to let people in may very well have been the catalyst that detractors needed to try to cut her down when her performance came up just short. But where others may see failure, I see accomplishment. Standing before God and everyone else, is a woman who worked hard, held onto her beliefs, maintained her composure in situations that would devastate a lot of us and did it all with a great attitude. Yes, she grieved for her loss (as evidenced by her tweets.) She is, after all, human. Yet, through it all Lolo Jones emanates a level of grace and sportsmanship that is not often duplicated. (I'm looking at some of the American sprinters right know who you are...) 

Medal or no medal, I will forever be a fan of Lolo. Watching her comeback from a devastating performance in Beijing (followed by spinal surgery...I mean COME ON Y'ALL) made me a like her as  an athlete. But watching her maneuver the waters of hateful commentators, spiteful fellow runners and every other person with something negative to say, with a joy and composure that can ONLY come from being secure in who you are and who God says you are...well that just made me love that girl to pieces. 

Keep ya head up Lolo! We love you girl!

Isaiah 40:30-31
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, the will walk and not be faint. 

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