Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Brave Man Entering The Arena

By Evan Sanders

He closes his eyes, and for a minute, there's silence.

As he walks out into the tunnel, he starts to feel the ground shaking.

The walls are dripping and there's a soiled musk in the air. His heart pounds.

As he walks to the the crowded arena, he starts to feel the stress grow in his upper shoulders.

This trail has been walked by many and only returned on by few.

He tries to breathe deep, only to be gripped by the nervousness looming in his stomach.

He walks out into the blinding light, eyes blurred and senses dulled.

There's that deafening sound of the crowd and the pinging in his ears. He feels the crunch of the dirt and sand underneath his feet.

There's a beed of sweat dripping down his brow waiting to fall, expecting what's about to come.

The heat of the sun on his back relaxes his shoulders. His eyes refocus.

Out walks his adversary.

There he stands, that monstrous figure. As dark as a moonless night. Body glistening with scratched up steel. Piercing eyes as pointed as the blade he holds. A body meant for one thing - Destruction. His loud roar echoes across the arena.

As the crowd watches, their hands are cold and impatient with expectation. The noble men look on with curiosity in the safety of their pews. Everyone is waiting for the unavoidable clash.

As he watches his enemy, his stomach sinks...but just for a second. He kneels down, grabs a small handful of the mud beneath him, stained with sweat and blood, and lets it comb through his fingers. He runs his hand softly along the sharp blade, and grips the soft bending leather. He rises, and faces the figure across from him.

The scars on his body rouse memories of gaffe, and as he stands there, staring into the dark eyes of the enemy across from him, it comes over him. A sweeping feeling runs through his veins and into his fingertips.

He digs his feet into the ground.

He seizes the handle and let's out a cry that will be remembered for ages.

He charges.



His eyes snap open quickly. He's been dreaming again. He paused and takes a deep breath, slides his hands over the polished old wood and grips the sides of the podium.

He is now finally ready.

He speaks

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

Our lives are the grandest arena. Much of the time, that approaching enemy across from us is fear. Fear not only to perform the specific act, but fear to literally achieve something that you truly have been considering doing. It truly sounds unusual at first hearing, but it happens to many. It's what keeps us from being great. That small fear of basically being a light out in the world for lots of people to see and for many to judge must not be put out. We must not play small. The credit is allocated to the individual who is trying and failing. It is not paid to people who look on a critique that very same man for the things he does. Always remember that. Do not be terrified of falling in the dust. Our scars outline our story, and make it just that much more unique.

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