Blogpost, self-reliance

Coming Up Short

There are two Hollywood movies that chronicle the story of Steve Prefontaine from the 1990s: Without Limits and Prefontaine. Each have their positives and negatives but I’ve gone back to Without Limits far more often. The racing scenes are done much more effectively, especially the race from Munich that uses actor footage interlaced with footage from the real race. Since the events happened in the 70s and the movies were released in the 90s, I feel no shame in spoiling the fact that Steve Prefontaine takes fourth in the 5,000 meter. Despite a herculean effort to beat the best runners of the time, he came up short.

If the movies are at all accurate, the defeat shook a man who rode very much on his confidence. We never get to find out if he would have rebounded from the defeat because he dies tragically. Although the story is one of an athlete who failed to accomplish his dream, the scenes from that race are amazing especially the end. It shows a man who gave all that he could in the moment and not have quite enough. It is glorious! Glorious? That’s right glorious. Everyone wants to win! Everyone wants to be on top but most are unwilling to do all that it takes to get there and accept the risk of coming up short.

None of us wants to lose, fail or be second best. However taking the chance that it may happen is part of the deal. The guarantees in this world are for mediocre prizes. Anything worth having requires the risk coming up short. Each of us needs to assess our own level of risk taking but be willing to take a chance on something. One thing I can say for certain is that Steve Prefontaine wanted to win that race and left a piece of himself on that track. Coming up short is not the problem, never trying for anything that mattered is!

Give something, all that you have!


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