Inspiration is more than admiration, it requires action. When you see something truly inspirational, you will be compelled to do something. Here is how I learned that lesson from a softball player.
It was a very hot day, without much of a breeze. On the field, over 100 degrees, it was more perspiration than inspiration. They were playing for the bronze medal in the MESAC girls JV softball tournament, and had beaten their opponent earlier. She was the 15 year old captain, pitching in their final game, injured. Her left hand was bandaged. When she hit an infield single and ran into the first base defender as she scrambled to beat the throw, she re-injured her ankle. She fell to the ground and laid there for a while before she slowly got up to resume play. The rest of the game was a struggle she limped through.
At the end, the scoreboard did nothing to improve on her pain. It showed her team losing 12 to 9. They had rallied several times, but a few bad calls, a few tough plays, and an opponent that took advantage of every opportunity was difficult to overcome. But, they had shown courage, given it their all, and they won the sportsmanship award among the teams in the tournament. For these girls, many of whom were playing softball for the first time in their lives, they were happy they played well. They were fourth, even though they felt they could have gotten third, or second.
They shook hands with their opponents. Lost, but not beaten, they headed to their locker for the talk with their coaches. Several parents remained in the bleachers and were chatting while we waited on the girls. They emerged, a few teary eyes could be seen, but they held their heads up and walked bravely out. A few minutes later, she was the last one out. Still limping and now far behind her teammates, she slowly approached the bleachers and stopped. As we continued to chat on one side, she began to collect up the empty water bottles left by her team mates, friends and parents who had sat there to watch the game. Noticing this, I remarked to another parent I was chatting with, “It’s obvious why she gets all the awards”. He responded, “Yes, inspiring isn’t she?” We, and the other parents joined this young lady to put away the remaining empties.
Then it struck me. We see a lot that is admirable, but not as often behavior, attitudes and acts that are inspiring. This young lady was not just to be admired for her effort, she was inspiring us to act that day. After all, inspiration is more than just admiration, it requires action!