The Quiet Triumphs

It happened, quietly, on the indoor track at the community center. This was a sleepy winter morning. A few other walkers were doing laps. Twelve times around is a mile.

As I was finishing my own walking, a man in a flannel shirt came slowly onto the track. He had once been my height. Now, he was bowed slightly over a walker.

He stood for a moment at the track entrance. Then he began. Small step. Small step. Small step. Each movement was willful, effortful, hard.

The others powered past him. Once, twice, three times.

Still, the man kept walking. Small step. Small step. Small step. Six minutes later, he had finished one-twelfth of a mile.

He paused at the entrance to the track. He straightened out his flannel shirt. Then he began again. Small step. Small step. Small step.

And this was when I saw that his steps weren't small. Each was triumphant evidence of that great human statement: I am not stopping.

If you were only measuring time, it would take the man well over an hour to finish a single mile. But if you were measuring human power and greatheartedness, he would not be beat.

I left the track. Heading outside, I thought, "A bow to the man in the flannel shirt. He let a sleepy winter morning know that some of our greatest triumphs sing more quietly than others."

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