Another Vicarious Victory

I take success where I find it. Many times, it in celebrating the victories of others. Here’s a doozy.

Last Sunday my brother-in-law completed the an Ironman 70.3 — 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run. He describes the race:

I had a great swim, which is good as it’s probably my weakest of the three sports. The ride was very hilly (rolling they said, yeah right). Aside from a sore right hip and right knee from mile 40 to the finish, the bike section felt good. The run was very challenging. The course was quite hilly and my hip and knee continued to bother me throughout the run. By mile 11 the pain in my feet overtook the pain in my hip and knee so I had something else to focus on :).

My goal was to complete the Ironman 70.3 in less than eight hours. My official finish time was 6:40:29.9. I finished 1,054th out of 2,500 athletes.

Sounds like a victory to me. But there’s a lot more to his story:

It’s hard to believe that less than six months ago God performed a series of miracles to help doctors find the aneurysm in my brain. 74% of people with berry aneurysms that bleed die, 8% have neurological issues; leaving just 18% who are functional survivors. Four months ago I was returning to work after spending nearly two months in bed following brain surgery. My first training run in late March was a 2-minute run after which I felt like I’d been hit by a mac truck. My training began in earnest about 11 weeks ago. Thanks for your prayers over the past six months for our family!!

I’m in awe!

An unrealized dream

On this day when we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., we recall his speech, “I Have a Dream“ calling for a color-blind society.

What progress did America make in the past year toward this goal?

  • A college professor appeared untouchable because of his unverifiable claim to be Native American.
  • President Bush was labeled a racist because of FEMA’s response time to the tragedy in New Orleans.
  • Qalified judges’ nominatiuons were filibustered in the Senate because the nominees were conservative — and minorities.
  • The voluntary military was accused of racism even though enlistees come in higher rates from areas having higher income.
  • A popular book alleges that abortion reduced crime. A former Secretary of Education extrapolated, “You could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”

And the dream for a color blind society is now seen as racist because it would mean the end of affirmative action.

As a person who has been blessed with much, I have no experience with discrimination. In fact, as an engineering undergrad accepted to law school with (I imagine) a lower college GPA than many of my classmates, I might have benefited from diversity, one based on my “diverse” educational background instead of the color of my skin.

Some may say that it’s not yet time to end affirmative action. One could even argue that the welfare state has done much to suppress black success. Yet, like the Iraq War, affirmative action must have an exit strategy.

We must once again believe that a color-blind society is a worthy goal.

I have a dream.