Crawford Hart Guest Contributor
I want to acknowledge my gratitude for a man I have never met and never will, even though he is closer to me then perhaps any other in my life. For many years I wasn’t even aware of his existence, not in any empirical sense. Perhaps I felt his presence, as you vaguely feel someone watching you from a secluded place, but I was well into my adulthood before he emerged as an active influence in my life. My life has been far more complicated as a result.
When I commit to something, it is he who inspires me, who tells me “You can do this. You’ve got what it takes.”
He sets out a never-ending series of challenges for me to overcome and an ever-rising bar for the standards I aspire to. That’s the problem: every time I think I’ve attained a goal and look to him for affirmation, he’s already moved on, constantly reminding me, “You’re not done. There’s so much more.”
When I commit to something, it is he who inspires me, who tells me “You can do this. You’ve got what it takes.” And when I stumble, when I fail to deliver, or break my word, he is still there, the inescapable measure of the degree to which I’ve faltered.
It was 1984, in the Men’s Weekend, that I finally recognized his existence. He is, as The Weekend’s purpose states, the man I’ve always wanted to be. He is the magnet drawing me forward, prompting me to give my best, to achieve greatness, and to never deceive myself when I fall short. He is my vision of what I can, and want, to be. He is me in my most idealized form, untainted by fear, greed, anger, resentment, petty desires for revenge or general all-round grumpiness.
Every man has a similar figure in his life, though not all recognize him. I’m grateful that I was awakened to his presence. I may not be that man, but sometimes I come close, and the ongoing effort to reach that ideal has changed all that I’ve thought, every action that I’ve taken, and every relationship I’ve entered into, since then and for the rest of my life. For that, I am forever grateful.