Crossing the Finish Line

Winning isn’t everything, it is the only thing.” This is an often quoted line from UCLA coach Henry Russell “Red” Sanders.  It sounds good, doesn’t it?  I understand what he was getting at, but there is one problem…it isn’t true.

If you have to sacrifice your integrity, your morals, or your core values, that cheapens your victory.  If you have to step on others to reach your goal, is that victory?  If you have to dope up to win the race, is that winning? There are numerous people that we can look at that have achieved greatness and have fallen from the Hall of Fame to the Hall of Shame.

I am not trying to kick someone who is down, but I believe if you asked Lance Armstrong today, “Is winning the only thing?”… what do you think he would say today?  Families, friends, teammates, and fans believed in him and cheered him on for years.  In a moment they had their bubble burst.  The man they thought they knew was not the man standing in front of them. His Live Strong foundation will never be the same.

Before any of us cast stones at Mr. Armstrong or the countless others who have fallen, have you ever bent the rules to win?  Have you ever taken a shortcut to get to the finish line? We have all bent the rules. Truth has a funny way of catching up with everyone.

I am extremely competitive.  I love to win, and I hate to lose.  I think I got that from my Mom.  She used to like to play cards.  She would play on our sympathy with statements like, “I have not been well lately.”  Then she would beat us like a drum.  All the while she was smiling, and serving us cookies and milk.  But you know what?  She did not cheat to win.  She was good at cards and she knew it.  We knew it too.  So when we played, the gloves came off and we did everything we could to beat her.  We all loved it, and on the rare occasion when I actually beat her….it was exhilarating!

Principle 1.  Winning is not the only thing.  If you sacrifice your soul for the sake of winning, you have lost before you even begin.

Principle 2.  The truth always always always (did you get that?) always comes out in the end. Live and play by the rules.  There is no shortcut to success.

Principle 3.  When you win without sacrificing your morals and ethics to get there it is totally satisfying.

One last thought.  Next time you win at something, remember that you did not win on your own.  You may be thinking, “Oh yes I did, nobody helped do this.  I did it on my own!”  Well, maybe, but I can tell you that I have found out personally that I have had people praying for my success, and I did not know about it till afterwards.  So…just saying.  Give credit to those who have sowed into your life to make you a winner.  Acknowledge God, your coach, your mentor, your manager, your co-workers, your spouse, your friends…whoever has had an impact on helping you win.  I am cheering you on to the finish line.  See you at the podium.


Dan Skognes


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *