What I Do Have in Common with Simone Biles: Legacy Box Reminded Me

Yesterday my long anticipated box from Legacy.com was returned to me. Inside was the treasured flash drive with the dozen horse show videos I had selected. I was so excited.

I was not sure what I would see because I had no realistic way to view the VHS tapes before I sent them. My dad had labeled each by horse, show and year. Decades later, I didn’t remember which shows I came in first and which ones I did not!

It was a thrill to watch and listen. Because my dad taped the classes, I could easily hear his comments and his distinctive cheer. One thing surprised me most. While I was showing the first place meant everything.

As I watched the classes, not knowing how I would place, it just didn’t matter if I came in first or not at all. I was proud of each performance. I looked like I belonged. I realized for perhaps the first time that a judge’s placing really is selective. In a constitutional law class I once took, we learned that law was what the judge ate for breakfast: a good breakfast might result in one ruling while a growling stomach might result in another.

As soon as I heard that Simone Biles withdrew I knew it was not medical. I just knew. She would have fought through a medical problem just like Kerri Strug did decades ago. She withdrew for mental health reasons.

As I watch those tapes now on a flash drive, my first thought was that I could not have done it. I could not have gotten to a horse show, a mile or two thousand miles away, and withdrawn. Then I thought again.

When you are in a class, you can withdraw at any time. You do not state a reason why, you just ask to be excused. I did ask a couple of times: I thought my horse was not performing well and did not want him to lose to another horse.

I was wrong. Every time since that I think about it, I was wrong to excuse myself. That is just me. Sports and life are full of twists and turns. I should have stayed in every time I was excused. Even if it was just 2 times. I remember them as failures not successes.

We both withdrew. I was wrong for me. I hope Simone was right for her.

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