Tenth of a point — Rising to the occasion

Every Olympic event I watch — none of which are live I might add — I hear athletes talk about finishing with their best foot forward.

Or rising to the occasion. Pick any cliché you want, the Olympics is about athletes training their whole lives for, in some cases, less than a minute of competition that will define their future as well as validate their past.

In high school athletics, the stakes aren’t quite as high, to put it mildly, but there is something to be said about a team or individual reaching it’s potential.

Rarely do you come across an athlete that is so dominant in his or her sport that the drive to win doesn’t even matter when the opportunity arises. For most of the top-tier high school athletes, ability only gets you so far and those that win usually realize that titles have to be taken not won.

People win the lottery, but they take the prize.

I watched a number of Marysville athletes take what they wanted to this past week.

The perfect example is of the girls hoops team, which faced all manner of adversity this season. That group of girls decided they were going to take a state berth from the top-ranked team in the Western Conference, and they did.

M-P swimmer Spencer Girard took a 24-year-old school record in the breaststroke — twice at the state meet. And Oliver Durand took three medals home from state.

These athletes didn’t win, they realized nobody was waiting to award a medal. Instead, they gave the officials no choice but to fork over the hardware.

That was obvious at the Mat Classic as well. Tomahawks senior Brian Donaldson had to score two more points in less than 30 seconds to earn one more step higher on the podium. Instead of giving up and saying, “What’s the difference between fifth and sixth anyway?” Donaldson scored three points and got one step higher.

The same goes for Keely Caldwell, who was trailing in a third-place match before cradling her opponent and pinning her.

While ability and effort afford us the opportunity to get what we want, most of us don’t realize either the occasion when it presents itself, even if there is a clock winding down. Look no further than this week’s stories to see those seizing what they want.

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