Last night as I witnessed the greatness known as the return of “American Gladiators”, I was struck by a spiritual principle. Some may think it’s a reach, but I think it’s entirely valid and pretty applicable for my life right now.

As I watched my favorite little “spider monkey” trying to climb the pyramid and then being tossed down it like a rag doll, I realized it’s an entirely unfair advantage. Not just because gladiators such as “Wolf Man” and “Toa” are ginormous, but because it is always easy to throw someone down when they are trying to make progress. This plays out very literally as a 150 pound Asian tries to scramble past a behemoth of a man, but even if all things were equal, it’s easy to topple a person trying to ascend.

I don’t know that I have eloquent words to explain what I’m thinking quite yet, but I think it boils down to the fact that it is fairly simple to attack. Honestly, I don’t think it takes too much skill. It’s easy to go after someone, more so if they’ve been in the fight for a while and they’re worn down.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t take a strong, mighty, or even a bright person to throw someone down when they’re fighting to go higher. However, it takes a special level of courage, tenacity, and strength to get knocked down and keep getting back up.

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After I posted this yesterday, I remembered this quote which seemed to be quite fitting.

“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 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 and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for 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 he fails while daring greatly, who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

“Citizenship in a Republic,”
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

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