There were 128 runners in the field for the cross country race at the 1993 NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships. As they set out on the 6.2 mile run, they were following a course that had been marked for them by the race officials. Toward the end of the course, one of the runners in the middle of the group realized something was wrong. Mike Delcavo of Western State College in Colorado saw that the main pack had missed the turn. “I was waving for them to follow me and yelling ‘This is the right way,’” he told an interviewer after the race.
There is an ancient Indian legend of a king who loved chess. He challenged visitors to a game, and was usually victorious. One day a traveling sage visited the kingdom and was challenged to a game. To entice him to play, the king offered to give the sage whatever reward he asked if he won. When the king was defeated, to honor his word he asked the sage what prize he would like. The sage asked for one grain of rice to placed on the first square of the chessboard, and then that it be doubled on each following square.
Former President Ronald Reagan says he learned the need for decision-making early in life. An aunt had taken him to a cobbler to have a pair of shoes made for him. The shoemaker asked young Ronald Reagan, “Do you want a square toe or a round toe?”
Reagan hemmed and hawed. So the cobbler said, “Come back in a day or two and let me know what you want.”
A few days later the shoemaker saw Reagan on the street and asked what he had decided about the shoes. “I still haven’t made up my mind,” the boy answered. “Very well,” said the cobbler.
It is not the
critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man
stumbled, 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 the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again;
A young couple moved into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbor hanging her wash to dry. “That laundry is not very clean,” she said. “She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.” Her husband looked on, but remained silent. Every time her neighbor hung her wash to dry, the young woman repeated her observations about the dirty laundry.
A fourteenth-century Italian stained-glass artist was summoned to design and create a huge portrait for the window of a cathedral in Chartres, France, a place well known for its stained-glass work. He laid all of the pieces he was going to use out on the floor of the cathedral. They were beautiful to behold; most of them were large and colorful. Among these awesome pieces of glass was a small, clear piece about as big as your fingernail. As the stained-glass portrait was assembled, that little piece remained on the floor. Only the big colorful pieces of glass were used.
W. B. Riley used to tell the story of a man who had walked the streets of Philadelphia searching for employment. One day he happened to go into the office of a well-known businessman by the name of Girard. When he asked for a job, Mr. Girard answered, “Yes, I can give you work. See that pile of bricks out there? Carry them over to the other end of the yard and stack them up.”
Joe Theismann was an outstanding quarterback for the Washington Redskins for twelve years. He led the team to the Super Bowl twice—winning in 1983 and losing the next year. A leg injury forced him to retire in 1985, but he was known as the Redskins all-time leading passer.
Once the devil was walking along with one of his cohorts. They saw a man ahead of them pick up something shiny. “What did he find?” asked the cohort.
“A piece of the truth,” the devil replied.
“Doesn’t it bother you that he found a piece of the truth?” asked the cohort.
“No,” said the devil, “I will see to it that he makes a religion out of it.”
Truth taken out of context and twisted is the basis for many false religions.
A sign in a bank lobby reads: “Please note that this bank is installing new drive-through teller machines enabling customers to withdraw cash without leaving their vehicles. Customers using this new facility are requested to use the procedures outlined below when accessing their accounts. After months of careful research, male and female procedures have been developed. Please follow the appropriate steps for your gender.”
In the Washington DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about forty-five minutes. During that time approximately two thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After three minutes, a middle-aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds before hurrying to meet his schedule.
The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat, and without stopping, continued to walk.
Imagine the Titanic as a small footnote in history. April 15, 2008 marked the 96th year since the massive ship so quickly sank on its maiden voyage. Scientists have recently discovered that the builder struggled to obtain enough rivets and riveters so they ultimately settled for faulty materials that may have led to the ship's demise. Harland & Wolff were simultaneously building the world's three largest ships - the Titanic, Olympic, and Britannic. Each of the three ships required 3 million rivets that literally held them together.