Lance Scranton: Pursue excellence, not vengeance
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to watch an amazing display of human accomplishment or been involved in one yourself, you know the majority achieve a momentary level of greatness by more of what you don’t see than what is displayed.
I’ve had the opportunity to play and coach on some great teams, and if the average person knew what it takes to be above average, well, I guess they would just stay average.
I coach kids all the time to pursue that perfect technique or play that will set them apart. The way you get to that one perfect moment in time is to avoid chasing it and pursue excellence. Pursuing excellence is a choice we make every day. It’s a process that takes time and energy and hard work. We all understand that perfection is never possible, but the pursuit of excellence brings with it a host of redeemable qualities that impact the other parts of our lives.
I’ve thought so much about this philosophy over the past few months, whenever some deranged person decides to take out their frustrations on innocent people; I think about what it is that they are pursuing and where they are spending all their time. We all do the things we think are fun and amusing, but being fed a constant diet of revenge whenever you’re picked on or bullied leads to some catastrophic consequences.
Times have changed, and things are different from when I was growing up 35 years ago but had I reacted to the bullies that made fun of my size and lack of coordination the way kids do today, I would be in a very different situation.
Someone really wise once told me revenge is a dish best served cold, and it wasn’t until years later that I realized how profound this statement was with respect to how we should live our lives. We’ve all been the victims of undeserved words and people who bully, but pursuing a life of excellence leaves little room for plotting revenge, because you are too busy making yourself better.
I have no idea what happened to most of the people who used to make fun of me, and there are people who still make fun of me to this day, but when the dish is cold and the revenge is ready to be served, I realize just how pointless it is, and most of the time, I just feel sorry for the person. Life is hard enough, but spending all my time concerning myself with how mean-spirited people speak or think only undermines what I am pursuing.
Think about what a world it would be if we spent time pursuing excellence in whatever area of our lives we find hope and peace. Maybe a few more books read or a little less time on social media, skipping a few meals, a little more exercise or saying some nice things instead of trying to be cool, or just realizing that going all out in your pursuit of excellence makes the incredibly mean people seem pretty unimportant and not worth your time.
Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.
About a week ago I was rolling a bale of hay down past the loading dock of the corral so that I could throw hay over the fence. Right there in the path was some rhubarb. It isn’t that the rhubarb hadn’t been there before, but I thought it had died out during the drought. It isn’t easy to get water to that location. The rhubarb is nice and tender, and I’m determined to use it up before the stalks get tough. So I hunted up my rhubarb recipes.