In all you do fight the good fight

Published 9:37 am Wednesday, February 26, 2003

By By BILL CRIST – Publisher
It's sometimes funny the manner in which we receive messages. We're all familiar with those little phone message pads that let us know when we've missed a call. There are also dry erase and bulletin boards that many of us keep on the refrigerator or located in a convenient spot at the house.
For many people, the Bible serves as a source of inspiration, and there are times a scripture lesson or sermon hits home particularly strongly. While wrapping up preparations for yesterday's Blue Angel Marathon last week, that very thing happened at my own church service.
That passage is found in 1 Corinthians, the ninth chapter. To sum up what our minister taught about that particular verse (much more eloquently than I will here), the passage talks about fighting the good fight and working hard to attain the goals you set for yourself. Such is the case when anyone decides to undertake a major project, like finishing a 26.2-mile run, but also in the small endeavors we undertake.
Deciding to run a marathon is no small undertaking for an individual. It takes hours of weekly training, on the roads, to get in shape to successfully complete the grueling endurance test. There is no way to cut corners and still prepare for the ordeal a runner will put his body through.
That same approach applies to other projects as well. An example that has gained a lot of attention locally is the school funding issue. Before voting to ask the county commission to seek a 10-mill ad valorem tax increase, the Escambia County Board of Education did research on different taxes and held a series of public meetings to gather public input. By putting that work in ahead of time, the board feels it has chosen the appropriate method to try and correct its funding problems.
Preparing is only half the equation, though. Once the starter's gun fires and runners begin their trek, they will encounter a variety of obstacles that will keep them from their goal. While only one runner can be the first to cross the finish line, and earn the trophy that says as much, each runner begins the race with a goal. For some it is to complete the route in a certain time, for others it is simply to finish under their own power. In reaching that goal, they too are winners.
The same can be said of the tax vote the school board finds itself endorsing. There will be numerous obstacles it must overcome to reach its goal. As was pointed out at the meeting when the board passed its resolution, it is going to take an all-out effort by every board member and educator in the system to make sure that the public knows why the tax is needed. It is going to take a group-wide focus on the goal, and the will to overcome the objections each of them will face along the way.
On a much broader scale, the message should hold true for each of us. My grandfather had stationary with the line "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right," across the bottom of each page. He understood that in every endeavor we undertake, we must commit ourselves to reaching our goal, to fighting the good fight on the outside, but also within ourselves. It is not enough to simply pay lip service to a project, working for it in public but undermining it in private. The conflict that creates within ourselves will ultimately lead to failure.
Winning is not easy. If it were, it has been said, everyone would do it. Goals that we set for ourselves deserve our commitment, no matter how hard it may be to reach them. At work, at home and in life in general, it takes a focus on the prize and a dedication to reaching it, to realize just how great are the levels that each of us can attain.
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