Wednesday, August 8, 2012

We are Olympians.

We are Olympians. 

We train hard and long with coaches' voices bellowing in our ears:

Run. Faster. Harder. Again

Our minds and bodies are chastened. Hands become more nimble, wits get quicker, and eyes see things that once blended in. It is all a part of our training.

We are Olympians.

And if we want to receive precious metals some day, we must make the sacrifices. The long hours of getting those facts straight and pushing through exhaustion and doubt and pain to get that competitive edge. There are also monetary sacrifices. Sometimes our loved ones chip in. Other times they just wish they could.  

Still. They cheer us on and many times have to be understanding when our rigorous training causes them to be neglected sometimes. We appreciate their support and the snacks they pack for us, too. We need both kinds of nourishment--our eyes are on a lofty prize.


No matter how hard we train, adrenaline still runs through our veins with every race. We feel relief when our feet don't slip off of that balance beam and even when our dismounts land us squarely on our behinds, we get back up. If we're fortunate, someone comes to our side to tell us everything will be okay. 

Because it will be. 

So eventually we learn to land on our feet. We never let go of the pounding in our chests and breathlessness we feel when that gun goes off. The hurdles come and we clear them. This is what we trained for. 

Our individual races are important but we also pass batons. Running faster, faster next to our teammates with outstretched arms and eyes with laser focus. We don't let go until it is firmly in their grasp.

And off they go.

We are Olympians. 

We soar through the air from high dives and try our best to land with minimum splash. We shake hands with those from all over the world and share their spaces. We also dive through sand to save the balls that have been dropped, volleying it to our partners and sometimes spiking it. 

Some days we fall to our knees in despair. But on the best days we are celebrating from that position. . . swirling a jersey over our heads and crying tears of joy and relief. 

On other days we simply do a funky little two step on the tennis court. Glad that the set was won.

Talk about "love."

Yes, we are Olympians.

Some may think that all it takes to reach these games is crazy, too much. Maybe they're right.

But. No matter what our chosen sport--from the ones that get all of the attention to the ones that require multiple explanations to help people understand--the victory is just as sweet.

And so we train. We keep good coaches in our corners and we surround ourselves with disciplined teammates. The kind that make us better. And that help us to keep our torches lit.

It only takes one time to step onto that top block. To feel the breeze on your face and let your eyes follow that flag as it gets raised higher and higher. The music swirls around your head--this is your anthem--and in that moment the hairs stand at attention on the back of your neck. 


Someone feels better. A patient feels heard. You've come to the right diagnosis as a team. And healing has taken place. 

This is our gold. This is what we've been waiting for.


The training has paid off. The reward is great and exactly what we'd hoped it would be. And sometimes that victory lap is nothing more than familiar one-liners on the wards or a hug so tight it takes the wind out of your chest.

The crowd goes wild. And so do we. Our eyes refocus on that prize, fast-forwarding to the games that will follow these. 

Still aiming for gold. And never satisfied with silver or bronze.


And so. After the cheers fade and the confetti settles, we lace up our spikes and meet our coaches at the track early that next morning. Or we go there alone but still hear their voices like an unshakable ringing in our ears:

Run. Faster. Harder. Again.

And so we do. Again.

And again. 

And even again.

The flame never dies.

Because we are Olympians. 

And our patients are the gold.

Happy Wednesday. And Happy 3rd Anniversary to this blog. It has helped me to see the gold in more people and things than ever before. 'Preciate you for reading, too.


  1. Congratulations on Three years of blogging! Aren't you glad you kept it up? You ARE a Champion!

    1. Mark, I cannot BELIEVE that I've stuck with this like I have. Oh. EM. Gee. I just want to be like you. . . can I tell you how much I loved the video? Love that you posted it.

  2. Happy blogoversary, you champion, you!

  3. Happy anniversary! 'Preciate your writing and sharing your experiences. I learn so much from your blog! :) Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  4. Dr. Manning- I am a huge fan of your blog, but this latest post particularly hit home. I think so many people see our Olympians and chalk it up to born talent or the right body type. They don’t give due credit to the exertion and determination that Olympians sustain. You are so right that in any major life pursuit –- it’s hard work and training, over and over and over, that help us reach that “gold”! Happy Blog-aversary -- you're a gold-medal blogger!

    1. Linda, you are too kind. I love this comment and deeply appreciate your kind words. Thank you!

  5. You know, you should start holding an annual blogoversary (borrowed the term from Ms Moon here) celebration :). Real-time, not virtual. I hope to meet you someday in person, and when I do, I'll give you a hug (the genuine variety, not the crazy-chick-coming-up-to-hug-you-randomly variety) - thank you for writing Dr M!

    -- Tara

    1. We are so gonna meet one day, Tara. But I will be the crazy-chick-coming-up-to-hug-you-randomly. So get ready.

  6. I have read your blog for probably 2 years. I want to thank you for sharing your warm my heart in so many ways.

    with Gratitude and Hope,
    ~ Chris A ~

    1. And you just warmed mine, Chris. 'Preciate you.

  7. Happy Blogaversary! This here blog has helped me reconfigure my overall view on medicine and patients and indeed, has allowed me to expand my view of what is golden. Your little piece of the internet ? -it has become an essential part of my day. Yay(!) to that.

    Maria, fellow Meharrian

    1. Aaaah. Thank you, sister. You know how much I appreciate you being here.

  8. Happy Anniversary. Yours is the first place I go to on the internet, and I always get a laugh or a lesson. Thanks for your wonderful gifts...healing, teaching, mothering, and writing. You ARE a gold medal package, my dear!


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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